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New Mexico Credit and Debit Card Fraud

If someone steals your wallet and uses your credit card, both identity theft and credit card fraud has been committed. Credit card (or debit card fraud) is a type of identity theft that usually involves taking another's credit card information with the intent to defraud. However, credit and debit card fraud are broad terms that also covers forging new cards and merchants who fraudulently claim that credit card transactions took place. Each state individually criminalizes credit and debit card fraud.

In New Mexico, a "credit card" is defined as any instrument or device issued for a cardholder to use in obtaining money, goods, services, or anything else of value, either on credit or on previously deposited funds. These devices are referred to by many names, but are generally called credit cards and debit cards. This article provides a brief overview of the main laws that criminalize credit and debit card fraud in New Mexico.

Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card

Code Section

New Mexico Code section 30-16-33: Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card

What's Prohibited?

Obtaining anything of value, with the intent to defraud, by using a credit card that is:
  • Fraudulently obtained
  • Invalid, expired, or revoked
  • Presented to a merchant by someone fraudulently representing that they are the cardholder
  • Issued in someone else's name (without that person's consent)


If the value fraudulently obtained within a six-month period is:
  • $250 or less: Petty misdemeanor
  • Between $250 and $500: Misdemeanor
  • Between $500 and $2,500: Fourth degree felony
  • Between $2,500 and $20,000: Third degree felony
  • More than $20,000: Second degree felony

Theft of a Credit Card

It is illegal to take a credit card from the person, possession, custody, or control of another without the cardholder's consent. It is also a crime to acquire or possess a credit card with the intent to use, sell, or transfer it if you know that the card is stolen. These offenses are both fourth degree felonies in New Mexico.

Fraudulently Signing a Credit Card Receipt

Any person other than the cardholder (or a person authorized by the cardholder) who, with the intent to defraud, signs someone else's name on a credit card sales receipt is guilty of a fourth degree felony.

Forgery of a Credit Card

Also, it is illegal to create your own credit card. New Mexico's code of law makes it a crime to make or emboss a purported credit card if your intent is to defraud. Violating this law is a fourth degree felony.

Credit Card Fraud by Merchants

Code Section

New Mexico Code section 30-16-34: Fraudulent Acts by Merchants (or their Employees)

What's Prohibited?

1. Merchants (or their employees) furnishing anything of value, with the intent to defraud, when presented with a credit card that:

  • Is fraudulently obtained or retained
  • Is fraudulently made or embossed
  • Is fraudulently signed
  • The merchant or employee knows is invalid, expired, or revoked, or
  • The merchant or employee knows doesn't belong to the person who is presenting it

2. Merchants (or their employees), with the intent to defraud, representing to a card issuer that something of value has been furnished to a cardholder when it in fact hasn't been provided.

Additional Resources

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

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