Protect yourself from this holiday scam

By 965koit on November 20, 2019

There is a scam working its way into your Facebook news feed. It promises a bit of holiday fun and a chance to receive some gifts from people around the country.

But don’t be fooled. It’s a pyramid scheme.

It’s called the Secret Sister gift exchange

What is it?

I’ve seen it in many different forms, but the premise is this: You buy-in for $10 and provide personal information, such as name, email and mailing address.

You then recruit “sisters” with the promise that they could receive up to 36 gifts if they send a gift to someone on your list. It’s a classic pyramid scheme with the participant forced to recruit more and more people until they’ve exhausted their friends and family list.


What happens next?

Sadly, for you, nothing. You will never get a gift, you’ll be out $10 and a total stranger will have your personal information. In fact, if you get caught participating, you could get in trouble. According to the Better Business Bureau, the Secret Sister Gift Exchange is illegal and you could be punished if caught hosting or participating in the chain.

What should you do?

There are several things you can do.

  • Ignore it & delete the request
  • Report it to Facebook. In the upper right-hand corner of the post, you can select “Report Post” or “Report Photo”. This is will alert the support staff that it is making the rounds again.
  • Don’t be tempted! If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Do not give your personal information to anyone you don’t know on social media or through email.
  • Educate your friend. Recently, a friend of mine shared the post. I responded in the comments with a link to an article showing it was a scam. Yes, it’s kinda Grinch-y, but friends don’t let friends get scammed.

If you are seeing the Secret Sister Gift Exchange popping up in your news feed, feel free to share this link with them. Hopefully, it will educate your friends and family and this whole scam can go away.

Have any of your friends shared the pyramid scheme with you yet? Let me know in the Facebook comments.

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