With so many people buying goods online these days, it’s not surprising to hear stories of identity theft connected to credit card fraud.
Recently, police in Denver investigated an identity theft crime in which a man and woman made multiple purchases at Walmart using another person’s credit card. The suspects are still at large. Crimes like this highlight how easy it is to take someone’s identity and information.
Here’s what you need to know about identity theft linked to credit card fraud, as well as the associated penalties in the state of Colorado.
Identity Theft and Credit Card Fraud Go Hand in Hand
The law defines credit card fraud as illegally obtaining and using another person’s credit card. It’s also illegal to use your own credit card with the knowledge of insufficient funds or if it has been revoked. Like the news story, using a credit card that’s not yours essentially employs a stranger’s personal information to commit a crime. This is why it’s considered a form of identity theft.
In Colorado, the statutes that cover identity theft include credit card fraud. Credit card frauds occurs when you use any kind of financial device for criminal purposes. Credit cards don’t count as the only financial devices. Debit cards, money orders, and checks cashed or used for illegal purchases also count.
In Colorado, identity theft can be committed through several circumstances. These include:
- Knowing use of identifying personal or financial information/device without the owner’s permission. You do so with the intent to obtain credit, services, cash, or objects of value – or to make a payment.
- Knowing possession of someone else’s personal identifying information with the intent to use or help another person acquire property, cash, services, credit, or anything else of value.
- Knowing possession of another individual’s personal identifying information to apply for/complete an application for a financial device, i.e. a credit card.
- Knowing possession of another’s personal identifying information with the intent to obtain any government-issued document.
Penalties for Identity Theft in Colorado
In Colorado, identity theft is a Class 4 felony. This is punishable by as many as six years in prison and fines for up to $500,000.
Prison time for this crime is mandatory under certain conditions. If your current conviction for identity theft is on top of a prior identity theft conviction in any US state or territory, that does equal mandatory prison time. You may receive up to 12 years in prison and be required to pay restitution to the victims.
Penalties for Credit Card Fraud
Since credit card fraud falls under identity theft in Colorado, your penalties will align with identity theft. This is the same as mentioned above, up to six years in prison for a Class 4 felony and fines of as much as $500,000.
Credit card fraud isn’t a simple crime, as it can open you to additional criminal liabilities under the law. That’s why it’s vital to understand your rights and how you are being charged, should it happen to you.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012 & 2019” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2020 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. Additionally, Expertise names her to its lists of the 25 Best Denver DUI Lawyers and 21 Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, both in 2020. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.