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Montana Credit and Debit Card Fraud Laws

In Montana, credit and debit card fraud is criminalized under the state's deceptive trade practices statute. The table below briefly outlines some of the main ways in which credit and debit card fraud can be committed in Montana.

Code Section

Montana Code section 45-6-317: Deceptive Trade Practices

What's Prohibited?

Obtaining (or attempting to obtain) property, labor, or services by any of the following means:
  • Using a credit card that was issued to another person without the other's consent
  • Using a credit card that has been revoked or canceled
  • Using a credit card that has been falsely made, counterfeited, or altered in any material way
  • Using the pretended number or description of a fictitious credit card, or
  • Using a credit card that has expired when the credit card clearly indicates the expiration date


Punishable by a fine of up to $1,500, and/or imprisonment in the county jail for up to six months.

If the fraud is part of a common scheme, or if the value obtained (or attempted to be obtained) exceeds $1,500, then the offense is punishable by a fine of up to $50,000, and/or imprisonment in the state prison for up to ten years.

Provider Fraud

Credit and debit card fraud can also be committed by providers (merchants who are authorized to accept debit or credit cards in exchange for goods or services). Providers can commit card fraud by selling goods or services to someone with the knowledge that the card being used was illegally obtained or is being used without the cardholder's authorization.

Most Common Defense to Credit Card Fraud Charges

  • Cardholder's permission to possess or to use the card

Are You Liable for Unauthorized Credit Card Charges?

Federal law limits your personal liability for unauthorized transactions made with your credit card as well as for unauthorized ATM withdrawals and debit purchases. If you notify your card issuer as soon as you notice that your card is missing (or has been used without your authorization) then the law limits your liability. Therefore, it is very important to notify the issuer as soon as your card goes missing. For additional information about cardholder liability see FindLaw's section on unauthorized card charges.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Montana's credit and debit card fraud laws contact a local consumer protection attorney or criminal defense lawyer.

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