Skimming is a type of credit card theft. Credit card skimmers use an electronic device to record card information. As such, they are able to record debit or credit cards that are used in otherwise normal transactions. When a customer’s card swipes through a reader, the skimming device stores the information contained in the card’s black, magnetic strip, which includes the card number, the expiration date of the card, and the full name of the card’s owner. With this information, the owner of the skimmers can make illegitimate purchases online. In addition, they can fabricate an entirely new copy of the card.
Theft accusations can lead to expensive and lengthy court proceedings. You could face penalties ranging from just a fine to over 10 years in prison. If you’ve been accused of a theft crime in Columbus, talk to Luftman, Heck & Associates about your case today. A theft attorney at our firm will evaluate the elements of your case, and advise you on your possibilities moving forward.
To schedule a free and confidential consultation of your case, contact us today at (614) 500-3836.
Possessing Personal Information Can Result in Criminal Penalties in Ohio
Under Ohio law, it is illegal simply to have someone’s personal information under certain circumstances. For the purposes of credit and debit card law, personal information is defined as anything that could be used to identify someone. This includes, but is not limited to a person’s:
- Phone number
- Driver’s license
- Credit card number
- Personal passcodes
Credit card skimmers give their user access to some of this information. Ohio law prohibits you from using anyone else’s personal identifying information to act as that individual. You are also not permitted to use someone else’s personal information as though it is your own.
Credit and Debit Card Misuse
In addition to misusing another party’s personal information, Ohio Revised Code (ORC) criminalizes misusing their physical payment card. The following actions are considered misusing a credit card by Ohio law:
- Buying or selling a card from or to someone you know is not the intended user
- Obtaining a card under deceitful practices (such as lying about your own personal information)
- Gaining something of value by using an expired or canceled card
- Using a credit or debit card as a security interest for an agreement
How Are Credit Card Crimes Classified?
In general, misusing a payment card is a first-degree misdemeanor in Ohio. There are certain circumstances, however, under which a card-related offense can result in a felony conviction. If the victim was 65 years of age or older, defrauding them using a card is a felony. This is also true of victims that are disabled.
How are These Crimes Punished?
The ORC punishes first-degree misdemeanors by a maximum of six months in jail. You could also incur a fine of up to $1,000. If your offense increases to a felony, the severity of your potential punishment is upgraded substantially. Misuse of a credit card can range from a fifth-degree to a second-degree felony. Felonies in the fifth degree are punishable in Ohio by up to $2,500 in fines, and six to 12 months in prison. Fourth-degree felonies are punishable by up to 18 months’ incarceration, and $5,000 in fines. Felonies of the third degree can be punished with up to five years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000. Second-degree felonies carry a maximum sentence of eight years’ imprisonment, as well as $15,000 in fines.
Accused of Using Credit Card Skimmers? Contact Us for Help
Talking through your theft case with a knowledgeable lawyer is often the best course of action. Luftman, Heck & Associates can help you find the best way to proceed with your Columbus-area theft case. Call us at (614) 500-3836, or reach out online to schedule your free consolation with Columbus theft attorney today.