‘Secret Sister’ Gift Exchange is a Scam BBB Warns
I'll will admit it. I have already received about 5 invitations from friends that I know to take part in a 'Secret Sister' gift exchange for the holidays. I'm pretty sure most of you have as well, but the Better Business Bureau wants to warn you that the whole thing is a scam and illegal,
The BBB is alerting consumers that the online 'Secret Sister' gift exchange that's flooding social media feeds is illegal and should be ignored. Although it may sound like a fun way to spread holiday cheer, gift chains like 'Secret Sister' are basically pyramid schemes. The U.S. Postal Inspection Services says that gift exchanges are illegal gambling and that participants could be subject to penalties for mail fraud.
If you're not familiar with the exchange here's how it works. The scheme starts with an invitation mostly on social media. I myself have received the invitation from good friends across the country. The invite will ask you for a few details, such as your name, address and the personal information of some of your friends and family that you want to include. This information gets added to an existing list of people who have already provided their information. Some of them will strangers from the Internet that you've never met. Then, you're instructed to send a social media invite that asks to send a modest gift, usually between $10 and $15, to a stranger along with their friends, family and contacts. It just goes on from there.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Services says that gift exchanges are illegal gambling and that participants could be subject to penalties for mail fraud. Who knew something that sounds like good holiday fun could be so bad, and dangerous considering you are putting much of your personal information out there.
Keep it on the safe side this holiday season and stick to doing personal gift exchanges with friends face to face and giving a hard decline to those social media invites. If your concerned about situation or solicitations being a scam you can visit the BBB for scam tips and notices.