Santa Barbara Credit Card and Identity Theft Attorney
In Santa Barbara County, making purchases with someone else’s credit card without permission is a serious offense that can lead to fines, jail time, and the loss of your own rights to use credit cards or bank accounts in the future. Being accused of credit card and/or identity theft can ruin your reputation and make it difficult to ever get another credit card or loan in the future.
Read more below to learn:
Credit Card and Identity Theft Laws
According to California law, credit card theft is any unlawful use of a credit card. It includes buying goods or services with a stolen credit card, using someone else’s credit card without authorization, and improperly obtaining a new credit card account. In other words, it’s used when an individual has misused another person’s credit or debit card in any way. If convicted, an individual can face imprisonment and hefty fines.
Identity theft occurs when an individual uses another person’s identity unlawfully by opening accounts that he or she isn’t entitled to have opened or by taking out loans that he or she wasn’t authorized for; in some cases, they may also open utility accounts and even commit tax fraud!
According to the Department of Justice website:
“Legislation created a new offense of identity theft, which prohibits “knowingly transfer[ring] or us[ing], without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable State or local law.” 18 U.S.C. § 1028(a)(7). This offense, in most circumstances, carries a maximum term of 15 years’ imprisonment, a fine, and criminal forfeiture of any personal property used or intended to be used to commit the offense. Schemes to commit identity theft or fraud may also involve violations of other statutes such as identification fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1028), credit card fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1029), computer fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1030), mail fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1341), wire fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1343), or financial institution fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1344). Each of these federal offenses are felonies that carry substantial penalties –¬ in some cases, as high as 30 years’ imprisonment, fines, and criminal forfeiture.”
What the PROSECUTION Has to Prove in Order To Get A Conviction
A credit card theft defense attorney will work with you on mitigating evidence. If there are no cameras in sight, for example, it could be hard for prosecutors to prove that you knew you were taking someone else’s credit card. While you can get into trouble for simply possessing a stolen credit card, many cases involve either fraudulent use or specific identification documents. And when someone is accused of having another person’s ID, one thing your attorney will likely look at is what documentation their client has in their possession; being found with multiple addresses and names can raise questions about whether or not those are fictitious identities.
The PROSECUTION Has to Prove The Following in Order To Get A Conviction:
- There was an unlawful purpose
- There was a willful act and/or
- There was an intent to defraud
For more information on how to defend against a possible credit card and identity theft conviction, contact an experienced attorney immediately.
Ways to Defend Against Credit Card and Identity Theft Charges
As per the information provided in the previous section “What does the prosecution have to prove in order to get a conviction,” the following information is important:
Here are some Ways to Defend Against Credit Card and Identity Theft Charges:
Legal defense to 530.5 PC:
Three legal defenses to defeating an identity theft charge are 1) no unlawful purpose, 2) no willful act and 3) no intent to defraud.
For more specific information on this, please contact Sanford Horowitz immediately.
Credit Card and Identity Theft Penalties
Penalties for credit card theft and identity theft vary. They can include fines, probation, restitution, community service, prison time and more. For example, someone charged with identity theft might be required to reimburse their victim for any money lost due to their theft. They might also have to complete a consumer education program.
Not all Credit Card and Identity Theft Penalties are financial in nature; a judge may require an individual accused of credit card theft or identity theft to perform community service or stay away from places that may allow them access to personal information. The specific penalties you face depend on how serious your offense is and how long you’ve been committing these crimes.
Penalties for these violations may also fall under a “wobbler” offense – meaning it can be charged either as a misdemeanor or felony. It is important to follow up with an attorney now if you are in this situation.
Real-Life Example for Credit Card and Identity Theft Arrests and Charges
If you’re looking for some real life examples of credit card and identity theft arrests and charges, you’ve reached the right spot.
Here are a few Real-Life Example That Would Lead To Credit Card and Identity Theft Arrests and Charges:
Providing the clerk your older brother’s driver’s license at a Liquor Store in Isla Vista to purchase alcohol, then later getting in a car accident. This becomes double damage.
Grabbing a credit card left behind in the billfold when you are waitressing at the restaurant, and then using it when you’re done with your shift to run up gas at the local station.
Personating someone else either through social media or documents, to gain an advantage.
For Victims of Identity and Credit Card Theft:
You’ve probably heard stories of identity theft, but you may not have considered that you are also at risk of this crime—especially if you live in Santa Barbara, California.
Learn How To Find Out If You Have Been A Victim of Identity Theft
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information without your permission in order to commit fraud or steal money from your accounts. You could face both monetary and legal consequences if someone steals your identity and commits illegal acts with it, so it’s important to know what to do if you think this has happened to you. Here’s how to find out if you have been a victim of identity theft and how to prevent it from happening again.
What to do if someone steals your identity?
The first thing you should do is file a report with your local police department. In this case, the Santa Barbara Police Department. They will help support to ensure your bank accounts aren’t being drained and will work to find out who stole your identity. This is important since some banks won’t freeze an account or do a deeper investigation without a police report! Of course, many banks will put a stop on the account with their own internal processes but having support from the police department can absolutely help.
After filing a police report, call all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to place fraud alerts on your account. Fraud alerts are provided “for life,” or even in yearly increments – so if someone tries to open up new lines of credit in your name after you’ve reported it stolen, they will be notified that there may be fraudulent activity going on.
What happens after my identity has been stolen?
It’s a shock to discover you’ve been a victim of identity theft, and it’s not always easy to get your life back on track. In many cases, companies will have already sent bills for services or goods (most often electronics) you didn’t request. Even worse, these companies may have already started a collection process against you if you don’t pay up. This can lead to wage garnishment and other legal issues. In any case like this, the best thing to do is to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you determine what happened and how best to resolve it.
How can I protect myself from this happening again?
Unfortunately, there’s no sure-fire way to know if you are a victim of identity theft. However, you can take specific steps to help safeguard your personal information in the future. Review your credit report regularly: Credit reporting agencies typically charge a small fee for a copy of your credit report, but it’s worth it to make sure that no one has applied for new lines of credit in your name. Consider placing a fraud alert on your credit reports: Fraud alerts require creditors to contact you before opening any new accounts in your name. They also require them to notify you if anyone tries to apply for an account using your Social Security number or other identifying information.
Tips For Preventing Identity Theft
Make sure you shred documents with your personal information before throwing them away. As an extra precaution, use a cross-cut shredder for essential documents such as your social security card and credit reports, and get a paper shredder for everything else. It’s also good to cover up keypads on ATMs when you type in your PIN. Lastly, be careful about what you post online; many identity thieves troll Facebook and other social media sites looking for ways to steal your identity.
Have you been charged with Identity Theft or Credit Card Fraud?
Contact a Santa Barbara, California Attorney today! A California identity theft lawyer can help you get started on resolving your legal matter. Protect yourself, your family, and your loved ones with an experienced attorney by your side. Call Sanford Horowitz Criminal Defense, P.C. at (805) 452-7214 now to schedule a consultation. We are here to help you find peace of mind after having your identity stolen or compromised. Contact us today!