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If I use someone’s credit card, am I committing fraud?

The laws in Ohio and across the country regarding credit fraud and theft are very clear. Unauthorized use of a person’s credit card is illegal and a white-collar crime. You may have a history of using that person’s card with his or her permission. However, the one time you use that credit card information without the owner's permission could result in you facing criminal charges that can have an adverse impact on your life. 

Take some time to learn what credit card fraud is so you can take actions to avoid receiving a criminal charge. 

What credit card fraud is 

Credit card fraud does not just apply to situations where you take someone's credit card without his or her knowledge or permission. It also applies to the following situations when there is intent to sell, use, transfer or receive goods and funds. 

  •        Using someone’s credit card as collateral
  •        Making charges without permission
  •        Knowingly making false statements to a credit card issuer
  •        Using the card to defraud a person or merchant
  •        Using deception to get credit approval

Many factors determine the seriousness of the charges you may receive, such as whether there was any forgery, counterfeiting and other illegal actions involved. If you have a prior criminal history, that may generate more severe charges that carry higher penalties and consequences. Generally, credit card fraud is a misdemeanor. However, depending on the circumstances involving the charge, it can be a felony. 

The penalties for conviction 

If you obtain goods or services that are in excess of $1,000, you are dealing with a felony charge. The amount of money stolen along with other factors determines the degree of felony. A felony conviction carries fines, restitution and a prison sentence. The illegal use of a credit card involving less than $1,000 in goods and services is a misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 90 days in jail, fines and other fees. 

No matter the type of penalties you face, you should take a criminal fraud charge seriously. It can impact your ability to work certain jobs, make a decent income and keep you from qualifying for public benefits. To avoid this type of situation, you should always get permission before obtaining and using anyone’s credit cards. You should also adhere to the laws and terms and conditions regarding their use.

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