Is the secret Santa sister gift exchange on social media a scam?

It's not hard to scroll through Facebook and see all kinds of holiday fun going on. 

From baking recipes to gift ideas the list goes on and on, but one thing has stood out from year to year now.  

"The secret Santa sister is back!" It's a post that has gone viral on Facebook during the Holiday season since 2015.  The post lays out the plan: you buy one gift and in return will receive 6 to 36 gifts.

And yes, it is too good to be true. 

The "chain-mail" post on Facebook is a scam and could also be considered illegal. 

According to U.S. Postal Inspection Service, "There's at least one problem with chain letters. They're illegal if they request money or other items of value and promise a substantial return to the participants. Chain letters are a form of gambling, and sending them through the mail (or delivering them in person or by computer, but mailing money to participate) violates Title 18, United States Code, Section 1302, the Postal Lottery Statute. (Chain letters that ask for items of minor value, like picture postcards or recipes, may be mailed, since such items are not things of value within the meaning of the law.)"

The Better Business Bureau also encourages that while gift exchanges grow in popularity during the holiday season, to use caution when choosing one in which to participate.

Chain letters have been around for years, and now social media makes it easier for scammers to target victims.

If you receive a chain letter by mail, email or social media, especially one that involves money or gifts, Better Business Bureau recommends:

  • Start With Trust®. Check with BBB before becoming involved in suspicious and possibly illegal activity.
  • To avoid this scam, the best thing to do is completely ignore it altogether. Do not give out personal information to anyone.
  • Chain letters via social media and U.S. mail that involve money or valuable items and promise big returns are illegal. If you start a chain letter or send one, you are breaking the law.
  • Chances are you will receive little or no money back on your “investment.” Despite the claims, a chain letter will never make you rich.
  • Some chain letters try to win your confidence by claiming they’re legal and endorsed by the government.

 

 

© 2017 KAGS-TV


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