Maine Credit and Debit Card Fraud

Maine has multiple laws that criminalize credit and debit card fraud. These offenses make it illegal to use an electronic device to scan or reencode someone else's credit or debit card (referred to as "payment cards" in Maine) with the intent to defraud, or knowingly using a credit or debit card that is stolen, forged, canceled, or obtained as a result of fraud or deception. This article provides a brief overview of Maine's credit and debit card fraud laws.

Code Section

Maine Revised Statutes section 905-B: Misuse of a Scanning Device or Reencoder

What's Prohibited?

Intentionally or knowingly using a "scanning device" or a "reencoder," without the permission of the payment card user, to scan or reencode a payment card with the intent to defraud or deceive another person.

Definitions

Scanning device: A scanning device is scanner, reader, or any other electronic device that is used to access, read, scan, obtain, memorize, or store, information that is encoded on the computer chip or magnetic strip of a payment card.

Reencoder: A reencoder is an electronic device that places encoded information from the computer chip or magnetic strip of a payment card onto any electronic medium that allows an authorized transaction to occur.

Penalties

Misuse of a scanning device or reencoder is a class D crime that is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of $2,000.

Misuse of Identification

In Maine there is also the related crime of misuse of identification. An offender is guilty of this crime if he, in order to obtain confidential information, property or services, intentionally or knowingly uses a credit or debit card that is stolen, forged, canceled, or obtained as a result of fraud or deception. It is important to note that this crime can only be committed if the actor intended to commit fraud.

It is an affirmative defense that the actor believed in good faith that he was authorized to use the card. For example, if you have both your credit card and your friend's credit card in your pocket and you accidentally pay for lunch with your friend's credit card then you haven't committed the crime of misuse of identification because you acted in good faith.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Maine's credit and debit card fraud laws contact a local criminal defense lawyer or consumer protection attorney.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.