There are many horror stories in Arkansas of people who receive permission to use someone else’s card only to have a bad fallout lead to threats of credit card fraud. This commonly happens in relationships with bad endings where the owner of the credit card is out for revenge. You may have even been asked to fill out a credit card application for a joint account by your spouse, only to have them use the card for illegal purposes, thereby dragging you into the mess.
So, yes, in some instances, it may be possible to commit credit card unknowingly. Convincing a judge and jury of this, however, may not always be easy. This is especially the case if you have a history of fraud in the past or other illegal activities related to financial and federal crimes. Unfortunately, this is how many people’s past comes back to haunt them long after they have turned their lives around.
Here are some of the specific instances Bankrate offered as examples of accidental credit card fraud:
- Forgetting to close the account of a diseased person
- Over-spending on a current or former romantic partner’s credit card
- Teens over-spending on their parents’ credit cards
- Threats from a past romantic partner related to use of a card you previously had permission to use
There are penalties in place for committing credit card fraud. If the alleged victim can prove thousands of dollars of unauthorized use occurred at your hands, you may face felony charges. If the alleged victim is an elderly person, then the penalties may be harsher than usual. If the individual was a family or friend, then you may face charges for theft. The exact penalties, as well as the differences between misdemeanors and felonies, differ at the state level and by specific circumstances.