Is Credit Card Fraud Protected by Federal Law?

Federal laws such as the Fair Credit Billing Act and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act protect consumers from financial losses caused by credit card fraud.

Money is tight for everyone these days, so it only makes sense to review your credit card statements and the transaction records on your bank accounts frequently to make sure that no vendors have overcharged you for purchases that you made and to check for unauthorized transactions. Banks often send alerts to account holders when there is suspicious activity on your account, but those automated alerts have a hard time telling the difference between fraud and a die-hard Chick-fil-A fan who just happens to be in the mood for Zaxby’s this week. Federal laws protect consumers from most of the losses associated with fraudulent credit card and debit card transactions, but only if the consumer notifies their bank and/or credit card company of the fraudulent transaction promptly. Meanwhile, people who steal credit card information or use credit cards without the account holder’s consent are subject to criminal penalties. If you are being accused of credit card fraud, contact the Gwinnett County, Georgia white collar crimes defense lawyers at Zimmerman & Associates.

Federal Laws About Credit Card Fraud

The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) states that the deadline for disputing a fraudulent charge on your credit card is 60 days from the date of the credit card statement on which the charge appears. You must notify the credit card company in writing that you believe that the charge is fraudulent. The credit card company must make a decision within 90 days whether to refund you the money. If they decline to refund it, they must explain to you in writing why they think the charge was not fraud.

The Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA) states that, if your debit card gets lost or stolen, you are not liable for most of the charges that occur after the loss or theft of the card. If you report the lost card within 2 days of the loss, your maximum liability is $50. If you report it more than 2 days, but less than 60 days after the loss, your maximum liability is $500. If you wait longer than 60 days to report the lost card, you are responsible for the purchases made with the card after it was stolen or lost.

Under Georgia law, credit card fraud is a felony. Regardless of how long it takes the victim to report the theft of the card or fraudulent transaction, a conviction for credit card fraud can carry a maximum fine of $5,000, and a maximum jail sentence of 1 year. The courts sometimes also order people convicted of financial crimes, such as credit card fraud, to pay restitution to the victims.

Contact Zimmerman & Associates About Credit Card Fraud Defense

An Atlanta criminal defense lawyer can help you defend yourself against accusations of credit card fraud. Contact Zimmerman & Associates in Norcross, Georgia to set up a free consultation.