Local polilce are cautioning residents about a recent rise in Boulder debit card fraud cases.
On September 1, police took a report from a man saying unauthorized charges had appeared on his debit card statement. The man banks at Community Financial Credit Union. According to the credit union’s vice-president of retail services, Nick Klausner, the institution’s fraud detection system uncovered the questionable activity and suggested he file a police report.
Fraudulent activity was discovered on the accounts of at least four other CFCU members between August 29 and August 31. The activity, which amounted to approximately $1,500 per customer, occurred at several Wells Fargo ATMs along the Front Range.
Upon further investigation, it was established that all of the victims had used their debit cards at the King Scoopers on 30th Street in Boulder between May 26 and June 24, according to information from CFCU.
First Bank reports they suspect a skimmer was attached to their ATM, compromising the personal information associated with over 1,000 bank and debit cards. The accounts affected were all accessed during the last few days of August. Police think several banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions may be involved.
What is Credit/Debit Card Fraud?
Credit or debit card fraud is a form of identity theft that involves an unauthorized use of another person’s credit card information for the purpose of making purchases with it or removing funds from it.
In Colorado, possession of a debit or credit card, without permission of the cardholder, is a crime. This is part of the state’s identity theft statues that aim to protect residents against fraudulent purchases made with their credit or debit cards. Specifically, state law prohibits anyone from carrying a financial device that they know, or should know, is lost or stolen.
A ‘financial device’ is defined as any instrument that could be used to access cash, make payments, or be exchanged for something of value. Credit cards, bank cards, checks and money orders are all examples. Identity theft occurs when an individual uses an altered financial device to obtain cash, credit or services. It is also considered identity theft to give false information or information that an individual should know to be false.
Simply being in possession of an illegal financial device is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and six months to three years in prison. Being in possession of more than one illegal financial devices is a felony. It is also a felony to commit identity theft. A conviction for identity theft carries a jail sentence of up to 12 years and a fine of up to $500,000.
Because so much is at stake, anyone who has been charged with theft may wish to contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Contact Our Experienced Boulder Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you are charged with credit card or debit card fraud, it is important to understand the severity of these charges and the consequences you now face. Contact the Boulder criminal defense lawyers at Steven Louth Law Offices today for a free consultation and review of your case. Call us at (303) 422-2297 to start building a solid defense against these serious criminal charges.