'Secret Sister Gift Exchange' Is an Illegal Scam: BBB - NBC Connecticut

'Secret Sister Gift Exchange' Is an Illegal Scam: BBB

If you're looking for a fun gift exchange activity, this isn't the way to do it

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about popular gift exchange programs that have made their way back to social media. (Published Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017)

    Two holiday schemes have made their way back to social media and people are still falling for them.

    The "Secret Sister Gift Exchange" and the "Wine Exchange" programs are getting a lot of traction this time of year. The Better Business Bureau calls them a pyramid scheme.

    Here's an example of how it works. One post on Facebook had a user promoting the Secret Sister Gift Exchange by asking ladies to send one gift and promising they will receive 36 gifts in return. All you have to do is message this person for more information.

    At first glance the post may look harmless, but a response to the post indicated the consumer reported she hadn't received anything in the mail.

    Another user said on Facebook, "Send one gift and get 6+ gifts back." Someone else responded by saying "I did this about two weeks ago, and have not gotten a thing."

    The same scheme appears true with the "Wine Exchange" program: Send one bottle of wine and you'll get 6 to 36 bottles in return.

    The BBB is urging consumers not to believe the hype.

    Gift exchanges are popular this time of year, but according to the U.S. Postal Service, this type of gift chain is illegal. It falls into the "chain letter" category.

    "They don't work because the promise that all participants in a chain letter will be winners is mathematically impossible," the postal service said.

    So if you're looking for a fun gift exchange activity, this one isn't the way to do it.