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Understanding credit card fraud

When people in California think about theft, they may first consider events like muggings and home break-ins. However, theft can also include credit card fraud.

Credit card fraud can come in a variety of forms. FindLaw says that one way fraud can occur is if someone takes over another person's credit card account. Along with fraudulent purchases on the card, the billing address is usually also changed so a new card can be opened in the name of the original card holder. Credit card fraud also takes the form of new accounts. These are usually opened in the name of a person who may not realize that someone is using their personal information.

Usually credit card fraud is committed on someone else's account. This includes forging or selling credit card information and using a credit card without the owner's permission. People can also commit fraud with their own cards, though. Purchasing items when the card does not have a high enough balance and using a revoked card are also considered forms of fraud.

The penalties for credit card fraud in California depend on the severity of the crime. Nerd Wallet says that it usually must be proved that someone had fraudulent intent when they used the credit card or the information. If the theft is viewed as a misdemeanor, someone might usually pay a fine and be imprisoned for six months. A conviction of forgery or grand theft carries a heavier penalty, though. People may find that they are required to pay a fine of up to $10,000 and possibly spend up to three years in prison. 



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