Senator Saland’s Bill to Criminalize Theft of Credit and Debit Card Numbers Has Passed Senate

Senator Steve Saland (R, I, C – Poughkeepsie) today announced that his bill to include theft of credit and debit card numbers within the crime of grand larceny in the fourth degree (S.1411) has passed the Senate.

“Credit card thieves continue to become more savvy and creative. In years past when shopping was always done in person in a store, a thief had to actually possess a stolen credit card to use it fraudulently,” said Senator Saland. “Now that we shop by phone and over the Internet, it’s no longer necessary to swipe your credit card to make a purchase. Surprisingly, while it is against the law to steal credit card, it is not against the law to steal a credit card number.”

Currently, it is an E felony to steal a credit card or debit card, however if a thief steals a credit or debit card number, no crime has been committed until the thief actually uses the account number to obtain goods, money or services.

Credit and debit card numbers can be stolen in numerous ways. A card can be entered into a device to capture account information; account numbers can be obtained during sales transactions; computer hackers can lift credit card numbers; and accounts can be compromised through phishing – sending fraudulent emails purporting to be legitimate companies which solicit credit card information.

“With technology advancing at a rapid pace, criminals are finding clever avenues to circumvent the laws,” stated Senator Saland. “This legislation is designed to provide law enforcement the additional tools they need to protect the public from credit card thieves.”

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