What is the Punishment for Credit Card Fraud?

The punishment for credit card fraud is serious. However, the severity of credit card fraud charges depends on the crime’s jurisdiction and circumstances. 

Punishments for credit card fraud can include probation, jail time, fines, forfeiture of personal assets, and other legal consequences.

Learn more about punishments for credit card fraud in this guide with examples and details on federal and state laws governing identity theft. 

punishment for credit card fraud

Punishment for Credit Card Fraud

There are numerous punishments for credit card fraud. It is more serious than a ticket or citation, and the government can charge you with a state jail felony or federal felony.

CC theft punishments

1. Probation 

Sometimes, if the type of credit card theft is minor and it is your first offense, you may receive probation. However, if you have been previously charged with a crime, it is unlikely that a prosecutor or judge will offer you probation. 

Furthermore, you may be required to do a lengthy deferred adjudication. If you do not complete the deferred probation according to the guidelines setforth by the court, you may have to serve the rest of your probation in jail. 

2. Jail Time 

You will likely have to spend time in jail for more severe cases of credit card fraud involving large sums of money, transporting credit or debit cards, mailing illegal cards, and other more serious crimes. The length of time outlined in the federal minimum sentencing guidelines for credit card theft vary from a few years to up to 20 years, depending on the specific charge. 

3. Restitution

As part of many sentences for credit card fraud the offender has to pay restitution. You may have to pay restitution to the credit card company or individuals. The amount of restitution you must pay depends on suggestions from the prosecutor, your assets, and the amount of money you stole.

4. Forfeiture of Personal Assets

The government can seize your assets when facing credit card theft charges. It is often challenging for people to prove where they obtained personal assets, making it challenging to recover property after it is seized. 

Any property that the government suspects you used stolen funds to buy can be taken. However, the government may also seize homes and cars you use while committing a crime. 

5. Attorney Fees

Along with the legal consequences of credit card fraud, you will likely have to pay an attorney to represent you throughout your case. The legal fees you will need to pay can cost you thousands of dollars. 

attorney fees

6. Court Costs

Court costs are another expense you will need to pay if you commit credit card fraud. The fines for identity theft start at $500 and go up to $10,000. 

7. Additional Legal Consequences

In addition to all the other legal consequences, there are additional requirements that the court could impose, including: 

  • Preventing you from using credit cards
  • Restricting your passport
  • Requiring you to go to counseling or attend classes

What is Credit Card Fraud?

Credit card fraud is a broad term for crimes involving stealing someone’s identity, manufacturing fake cards, stealing credit cards, and other offenses involving the illegal use of credit, debit, or even gift cards.

Final Thoughts on the Punishment for Credit Card Fraud

The punishment for credit card fraud is severe. Identity theft is a serious offense affecting the lives of millions of victims. So, it is understandable that the government takes a strong stance against it.

For information on other finance matters, like how old you have to be to open a debit card account, read the other guides on our site.