You may remember your first credit card. Perhaps you applied for one on a whim when you were in college, and you were thrilled to receive a shiny new card in the mail with a credit limit that begged you to spend. You may have wondered why a credit card company so readily approved you on the meager money you were earning at your campus job.

If you are facing charges of credit card fraud, you may be thinking back to those days of free spending. The information you provided to the credit card company may not have seemed important at the time, but now it may affect your future and the well-being of your family.

Is it really fraud?

Credit card fraud can take many forms and levels of sophistication. However, application fraud is among the most common. The application is a legal document, and you sign or affirm that the information you submit is truthful. Application fraud can involve applying for credit using someone else’s identity, but it may be as simple as lying about your income on the application form.

Exaggerating the amount of money you make may seem innocent, but the credit limit a company offers is based on a customer’s ability to pay. There is a greater chance you will not be able to repay what you borrow if you do not make the money you claim to make. This is why credit card companies and the federal government take fraud seriously. If convicted of application fraud, you may face astronomical fines and the potential for years in jail.

Don’t fight alone

You may have been one of the unfortunate few whose application attracted the attention of fraud investigators. On the other hand, perhaps you applied for numerous cards, ran up credit you could not pay or filed for bankruptcy after maxing out your credit cards. Any of these may alert a creditor to investigate for fraud.

While you may not think a credit card company is interested in an individual in Illinois who obtains a line of credit dishonestly, the truth is that credit card companies may look for any way to recoup their losses due to fraud. It is not wise to take a chance that the company’s legal team will dismiss your case as unimportant. Having your own strong legal advocate may improve your chances of reaching a positive outcome.