WARNING! Be on the lookout for a scam that is making the rounds on Facebook this holiday season.
It’s quickly taking over Facebook and experts are warning that the “Secret Sister Gift Exchange” is simply a new version of an old pyramid scam.
Do a quick search on Facebook for “Secret Sisters Gift Exchange” and you will see thousands of posts about the gift exchange. The messages first started showing up on Facebook, Pinterest and various message boards in early October, Q13 News reported.
The Cookeville Police Department issued this warning:
Don’t fall for the post popping up on your news feed about a secret sister gift exchange – it’s a scam and illegal. This scam circulated Facebook heavily last year and is making the rounds again this holiday season.
The message wants you to buy a gift of $10 or more, add your name to a list, and then you will receive 36 gifts. Sound too good to be true? You’re right…it is.
The gift exchange is a modern version of the chain letter scheme and is illegal. Chain letters are essentially forms of gambling and sending it through the mail violates Title 18, United States Code, Section 1302, the Postal Lottery Statute.
ABC reports that Caitlin Coller of Danville was tagged in a Facebook post.
“At first when I read it, I thought it was pretty cool,” said Coller. “The girl who tagged me in it is pretty reliable and is really nice, so it seemed like something she came up with. It seemed like this original thing.”
But it’s not an original thing. According to investigators, the secret sister gift exchange is a scam.
“You have no idea who you’re giving that information to, so ultimately what you’re setting yourself up for is identity theft,” said Danville Police Chief Eric Gill.
FOX reports that the BBB said it’s a “typical pyramid scheme,” and those who participate could be subject to penalties for mail fraud.
The BBB also noted that by sharing your name and address online, you could be exposed to other risks.
“To avoid this scam, the best thing to do is completely ignore it altogether,” the BBB said. “Do not give personal information to anyone.”
There’s another similar scam called the “Secret Wine Bottle Exchange,” which should also be avoided.
Share this information with your family and friends!