On their Facebook page, the Oklahoma City Police Department released surveillance video from a local Walmart store in hopes that the public can help them identify a man suspected of car burglary and credit card fraud.
Police say the man broke into a vehicle in early December, stole several credit cards from the SUV, and then used those credit cards to make purchases at several nearby stores.
Often, when we think of credit card fraud, we think of complex schemes used to unlawfully obtain a person’s identification and account information in order to takeover a credit card account or to open new lines of credit in that person’s name. These schemes may be committed through hacking data of major retailers, through stealing credit card information from insecure websites, from email and website phishing schemes, from telemarketing schemes, and from credit card “skimmers” attached to gas pumps or ATM machines. Personal information used for identity theft can also be collected from much more low-tech means: dumpster diving or stealing mail, for example.
However, the most basic form of credit card fraud, as in the case described above, is credit card theft. If a person steals a credit card, finds a lost credit card, or “borrows” someone else’s credit card without permission, and then uses that card to make purchases, he or she is guilty of credit card fraud.
Credit card fraud may be charged as either a state or federal offense, depending on the nature of the crime. In Oklahoma, credit card fraud is covered under the Oklahoma Credit Card Crime Act of 1970, found in 21 O.S. §§ 1550.21 through 1550.43. Under this Act, it is illegal to:
- [take] a credit card or debit card from the person, possession, custody or control of another without the cardholder’s consent, or who, with knowledge that it has been so taken, receives the credit card or debit card with intent to use it or to sell it, or to transfer it to a person other than the issuer or the cardholder,
- [receive, hold, or conceal] a credit card or a debit card which has been lost or mislaid,
- sell a credit or debit card if you are not the issuer, or to buy a credit or debit card from anyone other than the issuer
- use or accept a credit card for purchases without the authorization of the cardholder
- to counterfeit or alter a credit card
- to sign a credit card that does not belong to you or to possess an unsigned credit card that does not belong to you
- to use a forged or revoked credit card or to accept its use for payment
Violating the Oklahoma Credit Card Act is a felony. Depending on the specific statute under which a person is convicted, he or she faces a maximum sentence of 7 years in prison as well as fines and restitution.