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  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Secret SIster, Secret Sister Gift Exchange   

    The Secret Sister gift exchange scam is back 

    The Secret Sister gift exchange scam is back

    With the holiday season fast approaching, so are holiday scams. We recently reminded our readers about the potential abuses of gift cards, now it’s time to remind our readers of another holiday scam that turns up this time of year. The scam we’re referring to is the Secret Sister Gift Exchange. While there are some who swear by it and say that it’s not a scam, in reality, it’s just a pyramid scheme that could see you losing money and your personal information. You could also find yourself in trouble with the law if you participate in one of these gift exchanges.

    These gift exchanges start when someone posts on social media asking you to add your name and address to a list where you send in a small $10 gift. In return, you’re promised to receive up to 36 of the gifts. You’re also asked to recruit at least six more people into the gift exchange. Like most pyramid schemes, the people on the top receive all the gifts, while people at the bottom of the pyramid receive nothing. While $10 sounds like a small amount to lose, you could also be in danger of identity theft or worse by giving out your personal information.

    Also, we can’t stress this enough, these exchanges are illegal in the United States. As we mentioned, they are considered pyramid schemes under the eyes of the law and are also considered to be gambling. That’s not even taking into account that it could also be considered as mail fraud. While you may think you’re just sending a gift to a stranger to brighten up their day, you could actually face potential jail time. If you receive an invitation to a gift exchange like this, just ignore it. Instead, think about using that $10 to make a charitable donation.

  • Geebo 10:47 am on November 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Secret SIster   

    Avoid the Secret Sister scam this season 

    Avoid the Secret Sister scam this season

    The old saying goes that the stores start advertising for Christmas earlier and earlier each year. In my opinion, it seemed like as soon as the calendar turned to November, the flood of yuletide advertisements began to assail our televisions and internet devices. The holidays are also a time when scam artists come out in droves since people are more likely to open their hearts and wallets during the holiday season than any other time of the year. This year, an old scam that I haven’t thought about in years is being proliferated through social media and while the risk appears to be minimal, the consequences could have far-reaching effects long after the holidays are over.

    I’m talking about the ‘Secret Sister’ gift exchange where someone posts on social media asking you to add your name to a list where and send in a small $10 gift. In return, you’re promised to receive up to 36 of the gifts. According to the Better Business Bureau not only is this a pyramid scheme, but it’s also illegal since you need to use the US Postal Service to send the gift which can be considered mail fraud. And as usual, when it comes to scams like this, it’s highly unlikely you’ll receive any gifts in return.

    Since the scam seems to proliferate on social networks like Facebook, I decided to see if any of my Facebook friends were soliciting for this scam. While none of my friends were, there were friends of friends who were definitely being taken in by this scam. The post usually looks something along these lines.

    The problem with this scam is not only is it illegal as I mentioned above but if you decide to participate in the alleged gift exchange you’re also putting your personal information out to potential strangers who could use the information to their benefit and your detriment. Identity theft comes immediately to mind but the information could be used for even more nefarious purposes.

    Just because a friend of yours may be participating in the Secret Sister exchange on Facebook doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a Bernie Madoff in the making. They could potentially be a victim in all of this. If you’re worried about one of your friends being caught up in this scam, you may want to remind them that the Secret Sister gift exchange is considered illegal and show them this post or the BBB information. People are more likely to start thinking more critically if there’s potential for them to be in trouble with the law. NO one wants to be investigated for mail fraud for the holidays.

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