Penalties for credit card theft in Massachusetts

On behalf of Brian D. Roman, Attorney at Law on Monday, November 17, 2014.

Credit card theft and other fraudulent activity involving credit cards is against the law in Massachusetts and throughout the state. Anyone found to be in possession of someone else's credit card may be committing a crime that carries significant penalties.

The laws governing use of another's credit card without permission to do so are specific. Other aspects of the statute aren't quite as clear and, in some cases, there are exceptions. One example is a company credit card issued to a user that doesn't have their name embossed on the card. As long as the person has been given permission to make purchases on behalf of the card's owner, that person isn't committing credit card fraud.

A law enforcement officer can arrest anyone who they suspect is committing credit card fraud. In such cases, there is no warrant necessary before the arrest can take place. Another stipulation within this state's law is that no credit card may be seized to be used as repayment of a debt. Business owners who receive money via credit card but do not deliver the goods or services as promised can also be held accountable. Possession of equipment that creates fraudulent credit cards is a crime as is the embossing of a card tied to the identity of another.

Those who are charged with theft involving the fraudulent use of another's credit card face potential stiff penalties. Penalties may include fines and jail time. Many people who have been accused of such a serious crime seek the advice of a criminal defense attorney who can discuss details and options for a plaintiff and answer any questions about the charges and potential penalties.

Source: Commonwealth of Massachusetts, "Section 37CFraudulent use of credit cards to obtain money, goods or services; false embossment of credit cards, multiple possession, presumption; arrest", Robert Rizzuto, November 13, 2014