Will You Go to Prison for Stealing a Credit Card Number?

If you’re like many people, you know that credit card fraud is a very common thing. And if you’ve used another person’s credit card number, stolen a credit card or purchased something with a card that doesn’t belong to you, you could be in serious legal trouble. This guide explains.

Will You Go to Prison for Stealing a Credit Card Number?

You can absolutely go to prison for stealing your credit card number. This is a form of identity theft, and the state of Illinois considers it a very serious crime. To meet the definition of theft, Illinois state law says that you must:

  • Obtain or exert unauthorized control over someone else’s property
  • Deceive the owner of the property in order to get control of it
  • Threaten the property owner to get control of it
  • Possess stolen property when you know it’s been stolen or you should reasonably believe that it was stolen

If your case meets one of those criteria, the state of Illinois can charge you with and convict you of theft – even if what you stole was simply a credit card number.

Related: What to do about traffic violations

Credit Card Theft Charges: What Types of Crimes Are They?

Credit card theft can range from being a Class A misdemeanor to being a Class X felony. Usually, the type of crime depends on the value have the property; in the case of credit card fraud, it typically depends on how much you purchased with the number.

Generally, when it comes to theft, it’s a:

  • Class A misdemeanor if the property doesn’t exceed $500 in value
  • Class 3 felony if the property values between $500 and $10,000
  • Class 2 felony if the property values between $500 and $10,000 but the crime took place in a school or place of worship, or if the theft was of government property

A judge in Illinois can sentence you to jail for the misdemeanor and prison for any of the felonies. Your best bet is to talk to an attorney to find out exactly what type of charge you’re facing and to find out whether there’s a way to defend yourself against the charges.

Related: What should you do if you violated your probation?

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney?

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