• BBB warns of 'Secret Sister' social media scam

    By: Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    It's that time of year when we want to spread some holiday cheer, but scammers are also ready to pounce on those who have good in their hearts.

    The Better Business Bureau is warning once again to not fall victim to the "Secret Sister" gift exchange that has been around since 2015. 

    The Facebook posts promise those who exchange gifts secretly via email or social media that you could get up to 36 gifts for sending a present to a stranger valued at $10. 

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    It is a pyramid scheme, the BBB says, meaning it depends on recruiting others to keep it going with the promise of gifts filling your mailbox.

    Technically the "Secret Sister" exchange, like any other pyramid scheme is illegal in the U.S. and Canada. It's a form of gambling, and participants could face charges of mail fraud, a fine or even jail time.

    The BBB also says by taking part, you could be giving cyber thieves open access to your information, setting yourself up for more scams or even identity theft.

    So what should you do if you get tagged in a post or receive an email for the "Secret Sister" exchange?

    Officials say

    • Ignore it.
    • Report it.
    • Don't give your information.
    • Be wary of false claims.

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