West Virginia Credit and Debit Card Fraud

When an unauthorized person takes, uses, sells or forges credit card information then credit and debit card fraud has occurred. Both consumers and issuers (businesses that issue credit cards) can be victimized by credit and debit card fraud, and because this type of fraud is so pervasive there are laws in every state that make it a crime. This article provides a brief overview of the credit and debit card fraud laws in West Virginia.

Code Section

West Virginia Code section 61-3-24a(b): Fraudulent Credit Card Use

What's Prohibited?

  • Knowingly obtaining (or attempting to obtain) credit, or to purchase any goods, property, or service by using any false, fictitious, or counterfeit credit card without the cardholder or issuer's permission
  • Knowingly using a credit card that has been revoked, or
  • Knowingly obtaining (or attempting to obtain) a credit card by any use of a fraudulent scheme or device with the intent to avoid paying charges

Penalties

If the fraudulent act concerns a value of $1,000 or more: Felony punishable by imprisonment for between one and 10 years, or imprisoned for up to one year and by a fine of up to $2,500.

If the fraudulent act concerns a value of less than $1,000: Misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to one year, and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

Forgery of a Credit Card

In West Virginia, it is also a crime to forge a credit card. It is illegal to make, manufacture, present, emboss, or alter a credit card with the intent to defraud any person or organization providing money, goods, services, or anything else of value in exchange for payment by credit card. Forging a credit card is a felony and is punishable by imprisonment for between one and 10 years, or by imprisonment for up to one year and a fine of between $50 and $2,500.

Additionally, any person who receives, possesses, transfers, buys, sells, or has custody of credit card making equipment with the intent that the equipment will be used to produce counterfeit credit cards commits a felony.

Trafficking in Credit Cards

It is a crime to traffic in (or to attempt to traffic in) 10 or more counterfeit credit cards in any six-month period of time. Trafficking in credit cards is a felony that is punishable by imprisonment for between one and 10 years, or by imprisonment for up to one year and a fine of between $50 and $2,500.

Additional Resources

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

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