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Lying about your identity to obtain a payment card is a punishable offense

On Behalf of | Jan 2, 2024 | White-Collar Crimes

Thanks to financial transaction devices such as credit and debit cards, people can easily buy expensive items without bringing a bag full of cash. However, these devices aren’t given out so easily; banks and lenders closely scrutinize those applying for a card to prevent identity theft and fraud.

In Michigan and other U.S. states, it’s an offense to lie on your application for a credit or debit card. Even if you assume a fictional person’s identity instead of another real person’s, this is a serious offense with real penalties.

False statement of identity is fraud

By state law, a person who knowingly makes, directly or indirectly, a false statement regarding their identity (or that of another person) to obtain a financial transaction device commits an offense. This white-collar offense is a felony.

Because the law uses the term “financial transaction device” instead of just credit or debit cards, it also applies in cases where the offender is trying to apply for similar other devices such as:

  • Electronic funds transfer cards
  • Point-of-sale cards
  • Any instrument, device, code, account number, personal identification number, or other means of access to a credit/deposit account

In other words, pretending to be a person to access said person’s account is also a crime under this law.

The penalties for making false statements

If a court convicts a person of this offense, they face up to four years of prison and $5,000 in fines. In addition to these punishments, the offender gets a felony on their criminal record, which can severely impact their job and educational opportunities – not to mention their ability to borrow money and apply again for financial services.

Michigan takes fraud offenses seriously, so any attempt to lie on an application is immediately suspicious to officials. If you face charges for making false statements, consider your defense options by speaking with a legal professional.