Identity Theft on the Rise During the Holidays

It is that time of year! All of us want to get our shopping in as the holidays draw close. Shopping trips will not be limited to Black Friday deals. Many of us find even better deals all the way up until the day before Christmas, especially from online retailers.

Many of us are relying on the convenience of online shopping, as we can search for and purchase exactly what we want. Not only is it easy for consumers, but it is also easy for others to fall victim to credit card fraud or identity theft fraud. Online shopping has become more and more commonplace, but it is also a new avenue for scammers--and those falsely accused of scamming.

Defining Fraud & Theft in Virginia

A person can be charged with credit card fraud if they have purchased goods using someone else’s credit card or debit card information. They can also be accused of misdemeanor credit card fraud for purchasing items that are known to be stolen.

Credit card fraud carries the following penalties:

  • Less than $200 illegally obtained
    • Up to 12 months in jail
    • Fine up to $2, 500
  • More than $200 illegally obtained
    • Imprisonment between 1 to 5 years
    • Fine up to $ 2, 500

Identity theft is stealing another person’s identifying information and using that to either impersonate, defraud, or act as that person. Usually, the purpose of doing this is to commit another illegal act.

  • Less than $200 illegally obtained
    • Up to 12 months in jail
    • Fine up to $2, 500
    • Probation
  • More than $200 illegally obtained
    • Up to 5 years in prison
    • $2, 500 fine
    • Probation

Online identity theft carries even heavier penalties. If someone is found obtaining identifying information over the web and selling that information with the intent of committing another crime, then that individual can face 1 and up to 10 years in prison.

Defense in the Technology Age

Despite the fact that online shopping has become safer. Big-box retailers use encryption codes and in general, have more sophisticated online security. It does not automatically provide immunity from fraud. As a result, the federal government is on high alert, especially at this time of year, for any occurrence of fraud.

If you have any questions about identity theft or credit card fraud, do not hesitate to contact George Holton Yates, Attorneys At Law, P.C. As a Virginia Beach criminal defense attorney and founder of my firm, I have gained invaluable experience in the courtroom and garnered numerous successes for my clients.

Contact my firm to request your free appointment.


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