North Carolina Credit Card Fraud Laws

Credit card fraud costs billions of dollars each year in the United States. As a result, consumers end up paying higher finance charges and annual fees.

In North Carolina, credit or debit card fraud to refers to the unauthorized use of another person credit, debit or credit card information. Any individual that knowingly uses a credit card without permission or attempts to defraud any person by using credit card information is guilty of criminal acts under North Carolina's Financial Transaction Card Crime Act.

Financial Transaction Card

In North Carolina, credit cards and debit cards are referred to Financial Transaction Cards. A person 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.

The following table highlights the main provisions of the North Carolina's Credit Card Laws. 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.

Code Sections

Financial Transaction Card Crime Act (PDF)

What is Prohibited

You are guilty of credit card fraud if you, with the intent to defraud:

  • Use a card you know was illegally obtained from someone or through a fraudulent card application, or one that was forged, altered, expired or revoked
  • Obtain money, goods, services or anything else of value by:
    Representing without the cardholder's permission that the card is yours
    Presenting a card without the owner's authorization
    Representing that you own a card that has not been issued
    Using a card to knowingly and willfully exceed the actual balance of a demand deposit account, time deposit account or authorized credit line
  • Obtain control over a card as security for debt
  • Deposit into your account money in any form that is not yours
  • Receive anything of value as a result of illegally deposited funds

False Statements: You are also guilty of credit card fraud if you make a false statement in applying for credit or if you falsely report your credit card stolen or claim you did not receive the goods you paid for.

Penalties

Class 2 Misdemeanor if value less than $500 in any six-month time period, Class 1 Felony (PDF) if you have no prior record

Definition of a Financial Transaction Card

Credit card, Banking card, Debit card, Electronic Funds Transfer or Gift Card, or any Account Number.

A financial transaction card allows the cardholder to obtain money, goods, services or any other item of value on a credit basis.

What to Do If You Are a Victim

1) Contact the North Carolina Attorney General Consumer Protection Division, 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.

2) Notify you credit card company immediately. Note the date, time and person to whom you reported the loss or theft. Once you report the loss or theft, you are not responsible for charges you didn’t authorize. Your maximum liability under federal law is $50 per card.

3) Contact the three major credit card bureaus:

4. Opt out of getting credit card offers in the mail by calling 1-888-567-8688 (1-888-5OPT-OUT). You’ll be asked to provide some personal information such as name, address and Social Security Number, but that information will be used only to process your request.

Because North Carolina'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.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.