Thieves target gift cards again

January 17, 2013 8:37:32 PM PST
If you are buying a gift card, watch out. Thieves once again are stealing money right off the cards.

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.