Once again, a major retailer has announced that it has been hacked and the credit card and personal information of its customers put at risk. Home Depot has become the latest in a long list of companies who have had their customer’s credit card and other payment information stolen and then sold to others who then use that information to make fraudulent purchases. Increasingly sophisticated hackers pose a growing threat and it is almost a certainty that large-scale cyber-attacks will continue to occur.
Whether it is through sophisticated hacking of secure computer systems or the pickpocketing of a wallet on a city bus, credit card fraud is treated as a serious crime under the Criminal Code of Canada.
Section 342 of the Criminal Code of Canada prohibits the possession of unauthorized credit data as well as trafficking in credit card passwords. Under that section, if you steal, forge, possess or use a credit card knowing that it was obtained, made or altered by the commission of a criminal offence is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or an offence punishable on summary conviction.
Additionally, Section 342.1 of the Criminal Code is often used to prosecute hackers and those who obtain or deal in stolen credit card information through the unauthorized use of computer systems, with the penalties mirroring those set forth in Section 342.
As a result of the deep public antipathy toward alleged identity thieves, Crown Prosecutors indeed feel the need to make an example of such defendants in court and may seek the maximum penalty allowed by law. They may push for jail time for first-time offenders. The consequences of a conviction for credit card fraud don’t end there. A conviction on your record could damage your reputation, diminish future employment opportunities, and restrict your ability to travel. Furthermore, victims may still have the option to launch and pursue remedies in civil court.
If you have been charged with any offence involving credit card fraud, it is crucial that you retain an experienced criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible who can begin preparing your defence and give you the best chance of avoiding or minimizing the serious consequences of a conviction.
Ottawa Criminal Defence Firm Engel & Associates Defends Against Even The Most Complicated Charges
Criminal lawyers Bruce Engel and Elena Davies have represented individuals and businesses charged with hundreds of different offences throughout Canada for more than two decades. From the start of a criminal investigation to the close of a trial, we will take a balanced and forceful approach to your defence. We have the experience and know-how to effectively navigate the constantly changing justice system in Canada.
The materials provided on this site are for information purposes only. These materials constitute general information relating to areas of law familiar to our firm lawyers. They do NOT constitute legal advice or other professional advice and you may not rely on the contents of this website as such.