As technology progresses, credit card fraud and scams can occur not just when an individual loses their card and is picked up by an ill-minded stranger, or is even stolen from someone’s wallet or purse. Nowadays, credit card scammers may place a skimming device over a regular credit card processing terminal at gas stations, ATMs, and even self-checkout lanes at major retailers.
In Virginia, a conviction of credit card fraud is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor if the value of all money, goods, services, and other things of value furnished in violation is less than $500 in any six-month period, and is a Class 6 felony if such value is $500 or more in any six-month period, according to Virginia Code § 18.2-195. However, due to current law, prosecution of these cases can be tough as they may only be brought forth in the country or city in which the crime occurs.
With more credit card fraud is being committed either over the phone or internet, one Virginia lawmaker is set to fill the hole that seems to be a getaway for criminals.
H.B. 2484, introduced by Delegate Keith Hodges (R-Urbanna), allows that a “prosecution for an offense related to credit cards may occur in the county or city in which the cardholder resides.”
For example, under current law, if an individual in Frederick County, Virginia, were to be victim of credit card fraud, a case can only be pursued if the crime from the person, company, or entity was also committed in the same county. Delegate Hodges’ bill would rectify the legal conundrum to allow for that individual in Frederick County, or indeed any county or city in the Commonwealth, to pursue charges even if the fraudulent party is not located in that county or city or even in Virginia.
Therefore, those that may become a victim of credit card scams over the phone or internet can pursue legal ramifications on criminals that could very well be hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
The Republican-led bill was voted unanimously through the House Courts of Justice Committee last week. On Friday, it was supported 97-0 in the House of Delegates, with the bill now heading for deliberation in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee.