BBB: Facebook 'Secret Sister Gift Exchange' is an illegal scam

Who doesn't like to get gifts in the mail, especially 36 of them? It's all part of what's known as the "Secret Sister Gift Exchange," but it's a scam.

Once again this holiday, posts on social media are being shared over and over again about the Secret Sister Gift Exchange.

In 2017, ABC11's Troubleshooter Diane Wilson noticed one about a "Wine Exchange."

The Better Business Bureau warns this is not only a scam. It's illegal.

However, that is not stopping the posts from spreading.

One post states, "Ladies...Anyone interest in a holiday gift exchange? It doesn't matter where you live; you are welcome to join. I need at least six ladies to participate in a SECRET SISTER gift exchange. You only have to buy ONE gift valued at at least $10 or more and send it to ONE secret sister, and you will receive 6-36 in return!" Many are quick to reply that they are 'IN,' while some ladies commented they have tried this in years past and never got a gift.

The BBB said the "deal" is a digital chain letter, making it an illegal scam.

According to the US Postal Inspector, chain letters are a form of gambling that is, "illegal if they request money or other items of value and promise a substantial return to the participants."

In 2015, ABC11 asked then-North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper about the "Secret Sister Gift Exchange," and his office also said there are red flags with the gift exchange.

One of the big concerns is that by signing up for this, your name and address could get into the wrong hands.

So, if you've already joined the gift exchange, keep an eye on your identity and be extra cautious.

Wilson has heard from some ladies who said they had great success with the social media gift exchange. But know that if you sign up, you might be left empty-handed.
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