Credit cards are so convenient because they allow anyone to make purchases instantly. They’re helpful for costly purchases, when a buyer can’t immediately afford an item but can pay monthly installments.
You might have access to someone else’s credit card in some form – perhaps their card is linked to an app you use to make purchases online, or a relative uses their card to pay for your expenses until you can get your own. While using another person’s card to make as many purchases as possible without permission might be tempting, you should know that this crime comes with severe punishments.
Credit card fraud, according to state law
Under Iowa law, it’s prohibited to use a credit card for purchases knowing that the card is forged or stolen, has been revoked, or for any other reason using the card is unauthorized – such as making an electronic purchase with a card that’s not yours.
Penalties for credit card fraud
If you face credit card fraud charges in Iowa, the conviction and penalties depend on how much you fraudulently spend. They are:
- No more than $1,000 in fraudulent purchases: An aggravated misdemeanor charge carrying a maximum fine of $6,250 and a maximum prison term of two years.
- Fraudulent charges more than $1,000, less than $10,000: A class D felony with a maximum fine of $7,500 and a maximum prison term of five years.
- Fraudulent charges more than $10,000: A class C felony carrying a maximum fine of $10,000 and a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.
If you buy with a card issued to someone from another state or from an online vendor based outside of America, you could also be charged on the federal level. You could face fines as much as twice the value obtained fraudulently or a maximum jail time of 20 years.
Challenging fraud charges can be complex, especially if you’re still young and have limited financial capabilities. A conviction will also remain on your record for years, which could affect your future employment opportunities. You or your parent should consider consulting with a criminal defense lawyer who can represent you either in state or federal court. A lawyer should also be able to explain the charges you face and how you can approach your defense.