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Criminal Law News VIC

Credit card fraud tops crime surge in Victoria

Credit card fraud

Victoria Police have reported that there has been an unexpected surge in crime statistics over the last year with deception offences topping the increase in crimes, including credit card fraud.

Police spokespersons have commented that the release of tap and go credit card technology may be responsible for the amount of credit card fraud as it may make it easier for those who have stolen credit cards to use them without a PIN number or a signature.

Deception offences are not the only crimes which have shown a significant increase over the last year. Drug offences and family violence offences have also been reported as having increased in the last year’s statistics. Deception offences increased by 42 percent in the 12 months to December 2013, while drug offences rose by 12.3 percent. Intervention order offences, which include family related violence issues, have increased in the same period by 15.5 percent.

The question of tap and go technology and whether it has been responsible for the increase in credit card fraud is controversial. The technology is relatively recent, but is catching on everywhere very quickly. Basically, it eliminates a customer from having to pay for a purchase at a manned check-out counter.

All they need to do is to touch their credit or debit card against a machine at an automated check out. The company apparently gains because they don’t have to employ so many sales staff and the customer gains because they avoid lengthy queues. The tap and go cards are new cards and not the older style credit cards and generally they can only be used for smaller purchases.

The Victoria Deputy Police Commissioner, Lucinda Nolan, said that the whole community should be involved in solving the surge in deception offences. “It is not just a policing issue,” she says. Consultations with banks that issue the cards are apparently continuing.

A spokeswoman from Mastercard, which issues tap and go credit cards, said that the company was surprised about the statements about the cards as it seems to be in conflict with the company’s own data about fraudulent usage. The spokeswoman has asked Victoria Police to come forward with more detail about the crimes being reported.

According to the Crimes Act 1958, there are two offences which relate to deception, which includes the fraudulent use of credit cards. Section 81 refers to “obtaining property by deception” which includes the fraudulent use of a credit card to obtain goods or property.

Section 82 refers to “obtaining financial advantage by deception’. In the case of someone who has been using someone else’s credit card without their consent at a tap and go check out, they are potentially committing a crime under either section of the Act. Both offences are criminal offences in Victoria and are punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years for either offence.

If you have been accused of deception or credit card fraud, you should realise it is a very serious charge and you should contact one of our experienced criminal defence lawyers in order to help defend you in the criminal court.

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