With the sour economy, instances of fraud are on the rise. California criminal fraud laws make it a crime to steal or misappropriate things of value from people by way of deception.
Two of the most common forms of fraud involve credit card or checks.
The California crime of credit card fraud is when a person uses credit cards, debit cards or access cards as part of the scheme. Common examples include buying things with another person's credit card (and without their permission), opening up a charge account using another person's identity or credit, or using your own charge or debit card to purchase goods knowing that it has expired or been revoked. (Also see our article, "What Charges Can I Face for Credit Card “Skimming” in Orange County?")
Stated in Penal Code 476, check fraud is using checks for the same purposes. Examples include forging the payor's signature and making the check out to you, or making out fake checks and using them to purchase goods or services.
Common to these and all forms of criminal fraud is what the law calls “intent to defraud.” This means knowingly using deception to obtain things to which you are not legally entitled. If you were duped unwittingly by someone else's fraud scheme, or you at least had a good faith belief that your actions were legitimate, chances are you did not commit a crime and your case is defensible.