Credit Card Fraud Punishment in Australia

four visa credit cards

Credit card fraud is a serious criminal offence that can have severe consequences for individuals who engage in it. Credit card fraud is a prevalent problem in Australia, and authorities take a strict stance against offenders. The consequences of fraud in Australia can be severe, and it is essential to understand the penalties associated with this crime.

Fraud Charges NSW

New South Wales (NSW) is Australia’s most populous state and is home to several large cities such as Sydney, Newcastle, and Wollongong. The state has strict laws against fraud, including credit card fraud. In NSW, the Crimes Act of 1900 governs credit card fraud cases, and offenders can face severe penalties if convicted.


Under the Crimes Act, credit card fraud occurs when a person uses a credit card, debit card, or access device to defraud another person. The penalties for credit card fraud in NSW can include imprisonment for up to ten years, a fine, or both. The severity of the punishment will depend on the nature and extent of the fraud offences, as well as the offender’s criminal history.

Possession of Identification Charges

Under section 192K of the law, it is unlawful to possess Identification Information with the intention to facilitate or commit an indictable offence. This offence may result in a maximum of 7 years imprisonment.


Unlike the dealing with identification offence, this offence only necessitates the possession of the information. Therefore, it may also apply in situations where someone has obtained the information from another person, either through purchase or gift.


To be found guilty of this offence, one must have intended or facilitated the commission of an indictable offence. Possessing the information without such an intention is not considered a violation of section 192K.

Possession of Equipment Charges

As per Section 192L of the law, possessing equipment that can be used to create anything containing identification information may be considered an offence. However, it only becomes an offence if the intention is to create the item with the identification information to facilitate or commit an indictable offence. This offence carries a maximum prison sentence of 3 years.


Unlike other offences, this offence does not require possession or dealing with identification information. Instead, it depends on whether an object can produce such information. This could include equipment such as credit card skimmers or hacking devices. Nonetheless, it is still essential to have the intention to use the produced information to facilitate or commit an indictable offence.


If you have been charged with possession of equipment offence under s192L, you should speak to criminal lawyers immediately.

Obtaining a Financial Advantage or causing Financial Disadvantage Charges

As per Section 192D of the law, it is a violation to obtain a financial advantage or cause a financial disadvantage. In order to commit this offence, you must encourage a third party to provide a financial advantage to you or someone else or cause financial harm to another individual. If you have obtained a financial advantage, it is also an offence to retain that advantage.


For example, this may happen when someone produces a fake credit card. If a person uses this card in a store, they are gaining a financial advantage by not using their own funds. By giving the card to a retail worker to process the payment, they are also persuading them to complete the transaction. Common charges for this conduct may include dealing with identification information and obtaining a financial advantage.

Punishment for Credit Card Fraud in Australia

Credit card fraud is a criminal offence in Australia, and offenders can face severe penalties if convicted. The penalties for credit card fraud vary depending on the state, but they generally include imprisonment, fines, and restitution. In some cases, offenders may be ordered to pay compensation to the victim for any financial loss incurred.


In Australia, the maximum penalty for credit card fraud is ten years imprisonment. This penalty applies to cases where the offender has committed fraud over $5,000 or has committed multiple offences. For less severe offences, the penalty may be a fine or a shorter period of imprisonment.


The consequences of credit card fraud can be severe, and offenders may face additional penalties, such as restrictions on their ability to obtain credit or employment. Additionally, offenders may be required to attend counselling or rehabilitation programs to address any underlying issues that contributed to their criminal behaviour.


Many credit card fraud offences can lead to a charge of larceny by the Police.

What Elements must be proven for a Larceny Offence?

To commit larceny or theft, one must purposely and deceitfully take and move another’s property with the aim of permanently depriving the owner of it without permission and without a legitimate, albeit erroneous, belief in one’s legal right to it.


If the prosecution can prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, then one can be convicted of larceny in New South Wales. Specifically, to be found guilty, the following conditions must be met:


  • The item must have been taken and moved physically by the person.
  • The item must have belonged to someone other than the person.
  • The person must have intended to deprive the owner of the item permanently.
  • The person must have taken the item without the owner’s consent.
  • The person must have acted dishonestly by taking the item intentionally, knowing it belongs to the owner, according to the current standards of ordinary, decent people.
  • At the time of the theft, the person did not genuinely believe that they had a legal right to take the item, regardless of any erroneous beliefs they may have had. This defence is subjective, not objective.
  • The fact that the person planned to return the item or pay the owner back with an equivalent amount of money does not absolve them of the larceny offence; criminal penalties will still be imposed. This was established in the case of Foster v The Queen (1968) 118 CLR 117.

Defence of Honest Belief In Claim of Right

To successfully use the claim of right defence for a larceny offence, you must have genuinely believed that you had a legal right to the property stolen, even if that belief was mistaken. If you can demonstrate this belief, the burden then shifts to the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you did not honestly believe you had a legal right to the property. This means the prosecution must eliminate any reasonable possibility that you held this belief based on the available evidence.


It’s important to note that the claim of right defence doesn’t have to be based on fact or law – it just needs to be genuinely held. However, a mere pretext or false claim of belief in a legal right won’t be sufficient to support the defence.


The claim of right defence can apply to the physical property stolen and something of equivalent value. This defence is established in the case of R v Fuge (2001) 123 A Crim R 310.

Which Courts have Jurisdiction over Credit Card Fraud Offences?

Fraud can be classified as an indictable or summary offense based on the court in charge of the case. Summary offenses involving minor fraud are finalised in the Local Court of NSW, whereas serious fraud offences are generally addressed in District Court of NSW, where they are concluded.


Moreover, the way in which a fraud case is managed may differ based on the jurisdiction where the offence was committed.

Preventing Credit Card Fraud

Preventing credit card fraud is essential to protect individuals and businesses from financial losses. There are several steps that individuals can take to prevent credit card fraud, such as:


  1. Keep credit cards secure: Individuals should keep their credit cards in a secure location and avoid giving out their card details to anyone.
  2. Monitor credit card activity: Regularly monitoring credit card activity can help individuals quickly identify fraudulent transactions.
  3. Be cautious when using credit cards

If you have been charged with a credit card fraud offence or which to plead guilty or not guilty, you should speak to our team of fraud lawyers in Sydney.

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