Credit card fraud is usually the result of a physically stolen card, or a card whose data has been compromised along with other personal information, which is why credit card theft is also often associated with identity theft. The fraud, obtaining goods and services without paying for them, may happen at any time, and the card owner may not know about it until their card is used fraudulently. Fraud liability is usually assessed according to the details of the transaction.
These days, credit card fraud is rapidly growing, as databases get hacked frequently. This costs card holders and the industry millions. In the U.S., federal law limits a cardholder’s responsibility to $50, should their card be stolen, irrespective of how much is actually charged on the card, provided they report the card stolen within 60 days of getting a statement.
What typically happens in practice is that card issuers may waive the payment and just take the fraudulently charged items off the bill, so long as the card holder provides an affidavit stating the charges are fraudulent. In the case of just the credit card number itself being stolen, federal law states cardholders have no responsibility to the card issuer.