District of Columbia Credit Card and Debit Card Fraud Laws

Signing into your online bank account only to discover unauthorized charges on your credit or debit card can be quite distressing. And if left unreported, it can have serious negative impacts on your finances and credit rating. In the District of Columbia, as elsewhere, credit card fraud laws make it illegal for criminals to steal another person's identity for financial gain. This is a brief summary of credit and debit card fraud laws in the District of Columbia.

District of Columbia Credit Card Fraud Laws: Overview

The District of Columbia defines a "credit card" as an instrument or device issued for the use of obtaining property or services. This instrument or device can be known as a credit card plate, debit card, or by any other name. While the use of a credit card without the cardholder's authorization is the most common form of credit card fraud, cardholders can also be convicted of this crime if they use a revoked or cancelled credit card that is in their name.

The following table lists the main features of Washington, D.C.'s credit and debit card fraud laws.

Code Sections

District of Columbia Official Code §22-3223: Credit Card Fraud

What's Prohibited?

Under D.C.'s credit card and debit card fraud laws, a person commits the offense by intentionally obtaining or paying for property or services by knowingly:

  • Using a credit card which has been issued to another person without that person's consent;
  • Using a revoked or cancelled credit card (a credit card is considered cancelled or revoked when written notice has been received by the named cardholder or by the records of the issuer.);
  • Using a falsified or altered credit card or number;
  • Representing that he or she is the holder of an unissued credit card; or
  • Using an employer's credit card for unauthorized personal purpose.
Penalty

According to District of Columbia credit card fraud laws, any person convicted of this crime for property or services valued under $1,000 will be fined up to $1,000, imprisoned for up to 180 days, or both. Any person convicted of this crime for property or services valued at $1,000 or more will be fined up to $5,000, imprisoned for up to 10 years, or both.

If you believe that you are a victim of credit or debit card fraud, immediately file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. If you have been charged with committing credit or debit card fraud, search FindLaw for a District of Columbia criminal defense attorney. Visit FindLaw's sections on credit and debit card fraud and other fraud and finance crimes for more articles and information on this topic.

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