The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department posted a video on Facebook, warning that gift card fraud is on the rise.
Thieves can actually steal money from your gift cards by scanning the barcode and creating a duplicate. Once you load the card with money, they use their copy to buy merchandise.
The video shows and example: "This gift card has been tampered with. The barcode has been changed. The Santa Cruz Sheriff's Department recommends you get a gift card with a secure backing. That way you're not giving your money to a thief."
You can avoid theft by purchasing cards that are sealed in a package and do not have an exposed barcode.