Saland Passes Bill To Crack Down Harder On Credit Card Fraud

Stephen M. Saland

April 04, 2008

Senator Steve Saland (R,I,C Poughkeepsie) today announced that his bill to include theft of credit or debit card numbers within the crime of grand larceny in the fourth degree has passed the Senate.

Senate Bill 4789 provides that if a person steals a credit or debit card number and intends to use it for an illegal purpose, they can be charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree, a Class E felony. Current law states that to be charged for this crime, a person would have to steal the actual credit or debit card, not just the number.

"Many people shop on the Internet now rather than driving to a store, and all you need to buy on-line is your credit or debit card number. You don’t need the actual card, as you do when purchasing an item in person," said Senator Saland. "Credit card thieves continue to become more savvy and creative and now know they only need to get their hands on your number and not your card to do tremendous damage to your credit. Amazingly, according to present law, theft of your credit or debit card number is not a crime. This bill changes that."

You generally will notice right away if your credit or debit card is missing. But if someone steals just the number from the card, you may not realize it until you get your statement, and by then the damage is done. When you let your card out of your sight, even for a moment, your number could be stolen. Account numbers can also be obtained through phishing -- sending fraudulent e-mails claiming to be from legitimate companies that ask for credit card information to be updated or amended or reentered by the customer in order to maintain the business relationship.

"This is another tool for law enforcement to use to protect the public from thieves who would steal their personal account information and run up fraudulent credit card bills or steal cash through their debit card", Saland added.

The bill has been sent to the Assembly for consideration.