A convenience store employee was convicted of multiple counts of credit card fraud and identity theft. According to police, NyKeshia Smith was able to extract the credit card information from the cards as they were used during transactions at her store. Smith used the stolen credit card information to go on shopping sprees. In one case, an elderly woman left her card behind in the card reader. Smith stole the card and went on a shopping spree. Two of the three victims were over the age of 65, meaning that she faced enhanced penalties for perpetrating her fraud.
How was she caught?
Imagine waking up one morning to realize that your bank account has been drained of every last penny. You probably only come to realize it once you tried to pay for something and had your card declined. So you check your bank account and see that it’s empty. You see transactions on your account you never authorized. You immediately call the bank and they open an investigation. You call the police as well. How do they track these particular transactions back to the fraudster?
In order to perpetrate the fraud effectively, you must be absolutely invisible. Online, you are not invisible. You can set up a VPN to mask your IP address, but the items you are purchasing have to be delivered somewhere. These types of card-not-present purchases make up the bulk of prosecutions against credit card thieves. In some cases, new cards can be fabricated from stolen information. Since the purchases can be tracked to a specific address or location, it’s easy to find the fraudster.
However, it’s also easy to get the information off of your credit card. While credit card machines are now required to have chip-enabled readers, the chips are not an ironclad way of keeping hackers away from your personal information. The chip data is encrypted, but the magnetic strip is still present with your data on it.
The longest sentence the defendant will face is for obtaining personal identification information from a person over the age of 65. That is considered a second-degree felony and is punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. The defendant was convicted of numerous other felonies as well, each punishable by up to 5 years in state prison. Misdemeanors were also tacked on to the charges.
Still, the defendant only committed three charges of identity theft, two of which were targeting someone 65 years of age or older. The total amount stolen was less than $10,000, meaning enhanced theft penalties will not be in place. The defendant may only end up serving a combined 10 years on the charges, which is still a long time, but considerably less than the maximum penalty.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’re facing charges related to fraud or identity theft, contact a West Palm Beach criminal attorney today. The Skier Law Firm, P.A. has handled numerous cases involving identity theft and can help resolve your case with a result you can live with.