Michigan Credit Card Fraud Laws

In Michigan, credit or debit card fraud happens when an individual illegally uses another person's credit or debit card to pay for or purchase an item or service. Credit card fraud also includes opening a new account in another person's name, and using that card for purchases. A criminal doesn't need to physically possess the actual card in order to steal. They can easily use just the credit card number. This is generally considered a form of fraud and identity theft because purchases are made with the intention of not personally paying for the items.

In Michigan, credit cards and debit cards are referred to as Financial Transaction Devices (FTD). They can include gift cards or rebate cards. In Michigan, you can be charged with a felony for improperly using your own credit/debit card or if you possess/use the credit/debit card of another person without consent. Basic credit card fraud laws target stealing, possessing, forging, and using FTDs.

The following table highlights the main provisions of Michigan's credit card laws.

Code Sections

Stealing an FTD or Possessing an Altered FTD: Michigan Penal Code §750.157n

Possession of FTD with Intent: Michigan Penal Code §750.157p

Forgery of FTD: Michigan Penal Code §750.157r

Use of FTD in excess of funds or limits: Michigan Penal Code §750.157w

Use of a Revoked or Canceled FTD: Michigan Penal Code §750.157s

What is Prohibited

Stealing an FTD or Possessing Altered FTD:

  • Taking a credit or debit card or other FTD from the cardholder without their consent (stealing)
  • Knowingly possessing a stolen credit or debit card or other FTD without the owners' consent with the intent to use or sell it
  • Knowingly possessing a credit or debit card or FTD that has been lost or misdelivered with the intent to use or sell it
  • Knowingly possessing an altered or fraudulent credit or debit card or other FTD (Altering a magnetic strip or crediting a fake credit card)
  • Knowingly using an FTD without the owner's consent

Possession of FTD with Intent to Use

  • Possessing or receiving someone else's FTD with intent to use, sell, or deliver it without the owner's consent.

Forgery of FTD

  • Duplicating or making changes to a debit/credit card or other FTD.

Use of FTD in excess of funds or limits

  • Using a credit card or debit card of other FTD to withdraw somebody else's money.

Use of a Revoked or Canceled FTD

  • Knowingly using a revoked (versus expired) credit or debit card to obtain anything of value.
Penalties

Stealing an FTD or Possessing Altered FTD: Felony punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 and up to Four (4) Years in Prison.

Possession of FTD with Intent to Use: Felony punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 and up to Four (4) Years in Prison.

Forgery: Felony punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 and up to Four (4) Years in Prison.

Use of FTD in excess of funds or limits: Depending on the amount it can be a misdemeanor or a felony.

Use of a Revoked or Canceled FTD: Depending on the amount it can be a misdemeanor or a felony.

**Sentences typically include restitution to the victim(s).

Definition of Financial Transaction Device "FTD"

Credit card, banking card, debit card, Electronic Funds Transfer or gift card, or any account number.

What to Do If You Are a Victim

1) Contact the Michigan State Police and the Identity Theft Services Unit.

2) Notify you credit card company immediately.

3) Contact the three major credit card bureaus:

Because Michigan's consumer and criminal laws can sometimes get complicated, it may also be a good idea to consult an experienced consumer protection or criminal defense lawyer if you have questions about your specific situation.

See Are You Responsible for Unauthorized Credit Card Charges, Fraud and Financial Crimes, Theft Overview, and Business Data Breach and Customer ID Theft for more information.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.