Access Device Fraud is a serious crime in Pennsylvania. If you use someone's credit card, debit card, gift card, or account information to make a purchase in a store or online without the permission of the card holder, you may find yourself charged with Access Device Fraud. You may also find yourself facing charges of Access Device Fraud if you possess or use fake or fraudulent gift cards, or use someone's pin number or access information to take cash out of an ATM machine.

If charged with Access Device Fraud, you may also find yourself charged with Theft By Unlawful Taking and Receiving Stolen Property for being in unlawful possession of the physical card and Theft by Deception for items obtained from a store through the unlawful use of the card.

To read the Pennsylvania Access Device Statute under 18 Pa.C.S. 4106, click on this link.


The impermissible use of an Access Device can lead to the filing of charges ranging in severity from a 3rd degree felony to a 2rd degree misdemeanor depending on the value of property or services a person obtains, or otherwise attempts to obtain.

  • Value Less than $50: Offense graded as 2nd degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 2 years in jail.

  • Value Above $50 but less than $500: Offense graded as 1st degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 5 years in jail.

  • Value Above $500: Offense graded as 3rd degree felony punishable by up to 7 years in jail.

  • Transfer or Assist Other in Use of Counterfeit or Fake Access Device: Offense graded as 3rd degree felony punishable by up to 7 years in jail.

  • Possession of Counterfeit or Fake Access Device: Offense graded as 3rd degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail.


In an access device fraud investigation, the police have the ability to use sophisticated means to apprehend offenders and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. Having prosecuted and defended access device fraud cases, the most common pieces of evidence used to prosecute an offender for access device fraud include:

  • Use of surveillance video footage from the store, bank or ATM where the card was used;

  • Copies of transaction receipts and signatures;

  • Eyewitness testimony from a store employee or loss prevention officer identifying you as the person who used the access device;

  • Testimony from the card or account holder that the defendant did not have permission to use the card or account information to purchase goods or services;

  • Tracing the IP address of the computer used to make an online transaction, along with the shipping address for unlawfully purchased goods;

  • The defendant confesses to using the card or account information unlawfully to acquire goods or services. DO NOT talk to police if you are the subject of a criminal investigation;

  • Locating items purchased with the card or account at nearby pawn shops, along with a photocopy of the defendant's driver's license;


You need an attorney who will fully prepare for your preliminary hearing or trial while working behind the scenes to negotiate the best possible result for your case. In appropriate circumstances, you may be eligible for diversionary programs and charge reductions, including:

  • Rule 586 Settlement: Paying restitution to the alleged victim for a full withdrawal of your charges before the magistrate or the Court of Common Pleas.

  • Reduction of misdemeanor and felony theft charges to a summary offense, stopping the case at district court.

  • ARD program entry for first-time offenders, providing opportunity to expunge the charges from your record.

  • Early Disposition Program (EDP) plea at Pittsburgh Municipal Court;

  • Not Guilty Verdict

If you are facing an Access Device Fraud case, call Zuckerman Law Firm today at 412-447-5580 for a free, confidential consultation.