How did they do it? Visa gift card scam

I bought a Visa gift card at the grocery store. When the recipient tried to use it about a week later, there was only $3 left on it. It had been spent at a random online retailer in 4 different transactions of various values. I am going through the fraud recovery process with Visa but I am trying to figure out how the scammers did it so I can avoid it in the future.
Do they just have a stash of card numbers that they periodically try to use and see if they have been activated? Could it have been the cashier stealing the number? I am open to hearing any plausible theories.

The content was posted by littled311 on 2021-02-03 10:03:04 via reddit

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  1. If the card looked the least bit tampered with then it could be that they peeled the back that covers the card number and stole the card number. I used to be a supervisor at a grocery store and I’ve had to be aware of scams to prevent fraud. One scam they caught was people tearing the back off and taking pictures of the card number they would know when the card was purchased, to then activate it and use it as soon as they found out.

  2. Criminals make pictures of the cards, and with a high powered flashlight and the right conditions you can see through and see any scratch off codes …

    Steps to reproduce:

    Steal a bunch of cards

    Write down #s, get the scratch off pin #

    Maybe mark the card so you can tell if it has been sold

    Go back to store, put cards back in rack

    Go back to store, check if card has been sold

    If sold -> register it online and empty it via online shopping/gift card purchases

    They’d need to be fast after the card has been sold, as they typically are gifts and typically will have hours if not days before they are given and then checked/used.

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