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Theft or sale of personal financial information is a serious crime

Ever since credit cards began housing chips that give off their information, those who steal and resell credit card numbers have had an easier time obtaining card information. Unless you keep your credit card in a specialized wallet, it is possible for criminals with the right equipment to harvest your card information without ever swiping your card.

Of course, the person obtaining the card numbers is typically just one of many people involved in the theft and sale of private personal financial information. Someone else will probably sell that information to another party, who may try to use it.

While other forms of identify theft, such as the use of someone else's social security number, are more damaging, there's no question that the theft of personal financial information can be highly problematic. It can be difficult for victims of these crimes to have charges reversed, and they may face difficult situations while their lines of credit are frozen or unavailable due to fraudulent charges.

Because the sale of personal financial information often takes place online between people in different states or countries, these crimes are often prosecuted at the federal level.

There are many means of someone collecting your financial information

Those trying to collect your financial information sometimes work in places you visit. They swipe your card for payment and then swipe it again in a personal device that stores its information.

Alternatively, those collecting the numbers may install secondary readers (called skimmers) at gas stations and other self-serve terminals. In some cases, similar devices get hooked up at retail outlets and transmit information to those who installed them. Sometimes, criminals obtain your information from a hacked website, or you may unknowingly provide it to a scam company online.

Once these people have your personal financial information, they can sell it, sometimes for more than $10 per account. It can be difficult for law enforcement to track down those involved in these kinds of scams, but sometimes innocent people get caught up in enforcement as well.

Maybe you worked at a business where someone was, unknown to you, collecting customer information. Maybe you had a job as an accountant and didn't realize where all that personal financial information was being sent.

A defense attorney can help those accused of financial crimes

If you are facing criminal charges related to the theft and sale of financial information or other kinds of white collar crime, working with an experienced criminal defense attorney is your best option for a positive outcome. Public defenders are often overworked and may be out of their element in a case like yours. You will need a private defense attorney who is dedicated to advocating on your behalf.

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