All across the Internet, a new scam is brewing and finding willing victims looking for holiday love on Facebook. The “Secret Sisters Gift Exchange” generally presents itself as an emoji-laden Facebook update or innocuous looking tweet. Much like a chain letter, the service promises to hook givers up with an avalanche of Christmas presents. The basic idea is that you send gifts (valued at $10 or more) to six people; and they send gifts to six more people; and so on. The initial giver should receive (at least) a total of 36 presents.
By the power of exponents, another twenty-five rounds would easily involve millions of participants. Soon, the entire world could be Secret Sisters.
Sounds fun, right? Not so much.
Why this idea appeals remains a mystery. The thought of nominal gifts between people who don’t know each others’ tastes doesn’t sound awesome. Even worse, sending these presents opens one up to valuable information in the form of return addresses. Nonetheless, this message appears all over Twitter and Facebook.
Sadly, the risk of revealing personal information isn’t worth joining what is essentially a pyramid scheme. Even if one considers this gift-giving to be a mere chain letter, those are also illegal. The USPS continues to crack down on chain letters, which often turn into Sweepstakes scams. And like it or not, even the most harmless gift-giving chain would eventually fizzle out, leaving no gifts for the late joiners. Don’t do it!