Credit card fraud is one of the country’s fastest growing, and most costly, crimes. The effects are huge as well, with losses being recuperated by increasing finance charges, interest rates, and annual fees to consumers. In Ohio, state laws aim to address two individual issues with credit card fraud. They focus both on misusing the personal identifying information of a third person and identity fraud. More specifically, these laws refer to misusing the credit or debit card information, or credit information, that belongs to somebody else. It includes issues such as purchases made using fraudulent or stolen devices, making online purchases, making and possessing fake care readers, and soliciting others so as to make a fraudulent transaction.
The laws also define what gift cards, electronic funds transfers, debit cards, banking cards, and credit cards are, as well as any account numbers that include devices, codes, cards, or any other type of access that people can use in order to take money, labor, property, credit, services, or funds transfer from an account. These include cash dispensing machines, automated teller machines, and point of sale terminals.
Because Ohio includes identity theft in its credit card fraud laws, the state also defines what is classed as personal identifying information. This covers any and all information that can be used in order to identify an individual. These includes the name, address, telephone number, credit card number, driver’s license, personal passwords, and many other types of information.
Laws and Penalties
Ohio covers credit card fraud under Ohio Rev. Code Ann. Section 2913.49 (Identity Fraud) and Ohio Rev. Code Ann. Section 2913.21 at. esq. (Misuse of Credit Card). Under these two codes, identity fraud is firstly prohibited. This means that it is an offense to possess the personal identifying information of a third person if the accused aim to represent themselves as being that third person, or use the information as if it is their own. The value of the property or money that the third person is defrauded of will determine the charge that the defendants will face.
The second element these codes cover is misusing a credit card. This includes knowingly selling or buying a credit card from or to a person who is not the intended user; purposefully deceiving in order to access a credit card; taking possession of a credit card from a third person as a security for a debt; using a revoked or expired credit card in order to obtain property or other item of value; and representing yourself as the credit card’s original issuer while knowing that this not true. Although charges will vary, it is common for this offense to be classed as a first degree misdemeanor.
The penalties incurred as a result of credit card fraud vary depending on a range of factors. The most important factor in determining this is the value of the property that was involved in the fraudulent transaction. If this property, over a period of 90 days, has a value of less than $1,000, it is generally classed as a first degree misdemeanor. If, however, the value exceeds $1,000, it will become a 5th, 4th, or 3rd degree felony. In very rare cases, if the value is much higher or if the defendant is a repeat offender, it will be classed as a 2nd degree felony.
Credit Card Fraud Defenses
A number of defenses exist for someone who is charged with credit card fraud. The most common defenses are lack of intent and/or lack of knowledge. Some may, for instance, claim that they accidentally used somebody else’s card, or that they believed they had received permission to use the card.
The prosecution may, however, class the credit card company as the victim, rather than the account holder. In that case, it is not possible to claim the accused believed they were authorized to use the card, as a credit card issuer would never authorize this.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for credit card fraud in Ohio is that of a non-capital offense, which means it is five years from the day the offense was committed.
Ohio Credit Card Fraud Cases
- Five men from Somalia arrested on charges of forgery, credit card fraud, drugs in Ohio
- Niles Police arrest 4, suspected of stealing, using credit cards
- Couple indicted for over $54,000 in credit card fraud, allegedly used money to buy cigarettes
- Central Ohio trio charged with crimes arising out of credit card fraud
- Ohio man sentenced for credit card fraud scheme