Facebook Scam Alert: “Secret Sister Gift Exchange”
People are posting and sharing something called the “secret sister gift exchange” on Facebook. The message instructs people to buy a gift for $10 or more then add their name to a list to receive 36 gifts.
"Welcome to our secret sister gift exchange! Here’s how it works:
- Send one gift value at least $10 to secret sister #1 below.
- Remove secret sister’s name from #1; then move secret sister #2 to that spot.
- Add your name to #2 with your info.
- Then send this info to 6 other ladies with the updated name info
- Copy the secret sister request that I posted on my wall, to your own wall. If you cannot complete this within 1 week please notify me, as it isn’t fair to the ladies who have participated and are waiting for their own gifts to arrive. You might want to order directly from a web-based service (Amazon, or any other online shop) which saves a trip to the post office. Soon you should receive 36 gifts! What a deal, 36 gifts for giving just one! Be sure to include some information about yourself … some of your favorites. Seldom does anyone drop out because it’s so much fun to send a gift to someone you may or may not know … and of course it’s fun to receive. You should begin receiving gifts in about 2 weeks if you get your letters out to your 6 people right away."
Snopes.com says this is a scam that started in October. Meanwhile the United States Postal Service says it's illegal. “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.)” – USPS
If you're going to participate in this kind of thing, be warned...