BBB: 'Secret sister gift exchange', 'wine exchange' are illegal scams

(CBS) - 'Tis the season... to get scammed on Facebook.

Two scams called the "Secret Sister Gift Exchange" and the "Secret Wine Bottle Exchange" are once again spreading across Facebook like wildfire, and unfortunately, users are (still) falling for it.

It sounds like a fun Secret Santa-like gift exchange, but it's actually a pyramid scheme in disguise.

And worse, it's illegal, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) says.

"While gift exchanges grow in popularity during the holiday season, BBB advises consumers to use caution when choosing one in which to participate," the organization said in a statement. "According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service's gambling and pyramid scheme laws, gift chains like this are illegal and participants could be subject to penalties for mail fraud."

The scam "exchanges" always follow the same pattern: A Facebook users posts a status, tagging dozens of friends, asking a minimum of 6 people to participate. Friends of the user who wish to participate are then instructed to buy one bottle of wine — or other gift — valued at $15 or more and send it to one secret wine lover. In return, participants are told that they will receive from 6 to 36 wine bottles.

 

Article from CBSNews.com


More Stories

Don't Miss

Trending Stories

Latest News