What are the Different Types of Credit Card Fraud Punishment?

N. Madison
N. Madison

The punishment a person will face when he commits credit card fraud depends on the jurisdiction in which the crime is committed. Laws vary not only from country to country, but also from region to region. Many jurisdictions, however, have a few different types of punishment for credit card fraud. They include monetary fines, probation, community service, and prison sentences. Often, the type of credit card fraud punishment a person faces depends on the seriousness of his crime, the amount of money he stole through fraud, and whether or not he has a record of criminal activity.

Those found guilty of a credit card fraud can be sent to prison.
Those found guilty of a credit card fraud can be sent to prison.

One type of punishment for credit card fraud is a monetary fine. In some cases, a court will order a person convicted of credit card fraud to pay a fine, and the amount may vary depending on the laws in the jurisdiction and the unique details of the case. It is possible that a person will receive a fine instead of another form of credit card fraud punishment. What often happens, however, is that a person is given a fine along with another type of punishment, such as probation, community service, or prison.

Sometimes a judge will place a person guilty of committing credit card fraud on probation. This is usually a period of time in which a person remains in the community instead of spending time in jail. If he is involved in criminal activity during this time or fails to meet the court’s orders, he may then have to spend time in prison. Sometimes a person is given a probation sentence by itself, but judges may also order a person to serve time in jail followed by a period of probation.

In some jurisdictions, community service may be one of the punishments given for credit card fraud. When a person is ordered to perform community service, he is required to provide some sort of service that benefits a community organization or group of people. He does not receive financial benefit for this. An individual may be ordered to perform community service as his only punishment or in addition to another type of punishment.

Prison sentences are frequently given as credit card fraud punishment as well. The length of time a person is sentenced to prison may depend both on the laws in his jurisdiction and seriousness of his crime. Often, people receive longer sentences when they have histories of criminal activity or have stolen large sums of money. Prison sentences may be given by themselves or along with other forms of credit card fraud punishment.

N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments


I live in Ontario and I had a life changing experience but want to admit to my past.

I put an extra card in my name on my girlfriend's account and took out two thousand dollars. I intend to pay back every cent; I'm just afraid to tell her. I want her to charge me if she wants to charge me. How much time do you think I will get for that big mistake?


There was a guy in my neighborhood who was convicted of credit card fraud and was sentenced to five years! Before I saw this happen, I used to think that people never get jail time for stealing credit cards, but that's clearly not true. Credit card fraud consequences are as serious as other crimes.

But like all crimes, it makes a difference if the offender is an adult or a minor, right? I don't think minors even get tried for crimes like this. Unless the offender is seventeen years old, then the judge might try him or her regardless. Adults definitely get more serious punishments like jail time and fines, but minors get punishments like community service.


@ddljohn-- Credit card fraud penalties depend on the crime category and class, which can vary from state to state.

I live in Virginia and here, it is categorized as a class 1 misdemeanor (most serious misdemeanor) if the value of the goods are up to $200. If it is above $200, it is categorized as a class 6 felony (least serious felony).

If the fraud is a class 1 misdemeanor, then the person can be jailed up to a year and / or a fine up to $2500. If it is a class 6 felony, it ranges from up to one and a half year to four and a half years prison.

And of course, someone who has no prior convictions and who has committed fraud for the first time is not going to receive the same punishment as someone with a criminal record and who is a repeat offender.


I've been a victim of online credit card fraud and I'm not sure if that person even got convicted of it. I only dealt with my bank who reported the fraud and reimbursed my losses.

I personally think that credit card fraud should be punished with jail time if that individual has engaged in it more than once. I feel that some people have turned this into a business. In an era where we do a lot of our shopping online, our financial information is at higher risk than ever.

Credit card fraud is not the same thing as petty theft. I think credit card fraud requires more planning and it has greater risk and the financial losses are usually much bigger. If the point of criminal penalty is to deter the criminal from committing crime again, then I don't think that anything short of incarceration and a monetary fine will serve this purpose for credit card fraud.

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