Nobody likes paying bills. If your credit card bill seems higher than expected and you find a fraudulent charge, rest assured you can call the credit card company and dispute it. Federal law ensures that credit card companies will side with you unless there is evidence that the charge was in fact legitimate.
What would happen, then, if you wanted to avoid paying for some of those gifts and decided to falsely claim your card was lost or stolen? Would the credit card company be obligated to cover those charges?
Credit card companies know that some fraudulent charges slip through and will generally give you the benefit of the doubt should you dispute a charge. What you may not realize, however, is that they also investigate each dispute for chargeback fraud.
Chargeback fraud is a type of credit card fraud that occurs when someone files a dispute for a legitimate charge. Like credit card theft, credit card fraud is considered a crime of the fourth degree. A conviction means you could face up to 18 months in prison and a fine up to $10,000. The fine is in addition to being fully liable for the charges. Many credit cards will also charge you interest for the months that the charge went unpaid, which can add up quickly.
There are times when credit card users dispute charges they genuinely feel are fraudulent, only to realize later the charges were legitimate. This can happen when an authorized user, such as a spouse or child, uses the card unexpectedly, or when the name of the merchant listed on the card is slightly different from the name of the store where it was purchased. (This happens often when using PayPal, for example.) Since you didn’t knowingly lie about the charge, such cases are not considered chargeback fraud and you will not face criminal charges. Unfortunately, you could still be liable for interest on the disputed charges, though many credit cards will waive this.
If you or a loved one has been charged with credit card fraud or any other criminal offense in New Jersey, contact an attorney to avoid the serious consequences associated with a conviction. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled criminal defense attorneys with experience helping people in similar situations. Email the Rosenblum Law Firm or call 888-815-3649 today for a free consultation about your case.