You could be guilty of credit card fraud — even though you don’t realize it

When you think of credit card fraud, your mind probably goes to situations where unknown scammers “skim” someone’s card or get their number some other way and go on a spending spree. Maybe you think about situations where a home care worker lifts their elderly patient’s card and goes shopping.

You’d never do anything like that, but you could still be guilty of credit card fraud. This is a loose term for certain types of financial crimes — and it encompasses some surprisingly common things that most people wouldn’t consider a crime. Consider these examples of actions that could land you in legal trouble::

  • Lying on an application for credit. Credit is issued based on your perceived ability to repay your debts, so lying on an application about your income, its sources, your age and other important information to get a better interest rate or a card with a higher limit is a crime.
  • Borrowing someone else’s card without express consent. Maybe you’ve always used your boyfriend’s card when you needed gas or groceries — so you didn’t think it would be a big deal if you used it for a few online purchases too. When he got the bill, he hit the roof and said you never had permission for those charges. That could land you in trouble with the law.
  • You dispute a legitimate charge. Maybe you forgot that you made a charge and asked the bank to refund the purchase by mistake. Maybe you’re upset that a product wasn’t as described and can’t figure out another way to get satisfaction from the seller. Either way, chargeback fraud is a serious issue.

There are all kinds of ways you can end up committing credit card fraud — especially via online shopping and other services. If you’re in trouble, it’s time to get some experienced legal assistance.