The widespread use of credit cards can create many opportunities for malicious parties to steal your credit card information and use it to purchase things for themselves, leaving you with possibly large bills to pay. Texas law charges credit card fraud as a felony, which can result in stiff fines and jail time. To understand why the law might charge someone with this form of theft, it may help to learn how credit card fraud occurs.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) explains credit card fraud may happen in a number of ways. In some cases, thieves go through trash or dumpsters to find billing statements that contain card information, which they later use to make purchases. Some people will just outright steal a card, while other thieves may snap a picture of a card with their phones and then use the numbers off the card to buy things.

Since people make many online purchases, there may be vendor websites out there that contain your credit card information. Some people also have their card numbers stored on bank websites. Hackers, who often target financial information, may hack into these websites and steal card information. They might use it for purchases or they might sell it to other parties.

Victims of credit card fraud might mistakenly give their credit card information to malicious parties. Some people receive emails that seemingly belong to reputable vendors requesting financial information, but the emails actually belong to fraudsters. These malicious parties may also offer services or products to people, only to steal their information and then disappear with it.

Because credit card fraud takes many forms, some people may use the card of someone else, perhaps a friend or co-worker, without knowing they had used the wrong card. According to FindLaw, some people contest fraud charges on the grounds they used the card of someone else by mistake. Minors charged with credit card fraud may seek a lesser charge due to their age. How people and their attorneys deal with charges of credit card theft will ultimately depend on the circumstances of the case.