How Do Credit Card Fraudsters Get Caught?

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Guy holding a credit card in front of a laptop - How Do Credit Card Fraudsters Get Caught?

The easiest way to catch a credit card fraudster is red-handed. Being lazy with IP addresses, delivery addresses, or making a purchase through their account are just a few ways that credit card fraudsters are brought down.

The unfortunate reality is that most credit card fraudsters never get caught. A recent study showed that about 1% of credit card fraud is solved.


Do Banks go after Credit Card Fraudsters?

The Electronic Funds Transfer Act, or EFT for short, sets some basic guidelines that banks must follow:


  • Banks must open an investigation on the reported fraud.
  • They must report the findings of their investigation within three business days once closed.
  • If an error was found, the error must be fixed in one business day.
  • Banks must complete their investigation in 10 business days.


Your financial institution may be given (45) days as long as they provide you with the use or provisional use of the funds reported as fraud.


Do they get Caught by Their IP address?

Cybersecurity and fraud investigation teams can use IP addresses to locate a purchaser’s geolocation. Geolocation can provide tons of information like:


  • Time zone
  • Postal Code
  • City
  • Internet Service Provider


This information can then be compared to the billing and shipping information. If the information doesn’t match up, it could give investigators the information needed to identify the fraudster.


How long does it take for fraudsters to get caught?

In some cases, an investigation into fraud can take up to 90 days. However, most cases are required to be wrapped up within 45 business days, as outlined in the EFT Act.

Once a credit card fraudster has been caught, the timing of when they will stand trial can vary. Credit card fraud can be prosecuted on either a state or federal level, depending on the severity.


How Come Some Credit Card Fraudsters Get Away With it?

Since the easiest way to catch a fraudster is to catch them red-handed, it’s not surprising that most get away with the fraud. Here are some other ways that fraudsters get away with fraud:


  • Making purchases so small they go unnoticed
  • Scrambling the IP address
  • Using a fake address for delivery
  • Not possessing the actual card


Unless the fraudster gets lazy, catching them can be a lot harder than it seems. Your financial institution may also decide not to pursue the fraudster, especially if the amount taken is less than 400 dollars.


How Long Do You Go to Jail for Credit Card Scamming?

The amount of money that was scammed will determine if the fraudster will be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. This amount can vary from state to state.

If convicted of a misdemeanor, the fraudster could face up to one year in county jail, a 1,000 dollar fine, or both. If convicted of a felony, the fraudster could face up to 10 years in prison, a 10,000 dollar fine, or both.

In some cases, the fraudster can be charged with both a misdemeanor and a felony. This is even the case with first offenders.


Final Thoughts on How do Credit Card Fraudsters Get Caught

While there are several ways a credit card fraudster can be caught, the sad truth is most do not. However, you, as a cardholder, can do some things to protect yourself from credit card fraud.

The most important thing is checking your account often and reporting any charges that you are sure you didn’t make.

Sit down with the bank that issued your debit/credit card and talk about their recommended ways of protecting yourself from this type of theft. You can also consider purchasing a paid tracking service that will notify you if there is any suspicious activity.

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