I see it happen every year around the holidays and I just roll my eyes. It's about time I step up and alert my friends that they are being scammed by someone thousands of miles away. The "Secret Sister" gift exchange is far from a "fun" way to receive gifts, it's a scam.

According to the U.S. Postal Service, "Scammers are now utilizing social media to promote pyramid schemes." Did you know that gift exchanges like this are also considered a form of gambling? The sad part is that many that enter this "Secret Sister" exchange are basically pouring money into a game that they can never win.

The BBB says "The cycle continues and you’re left with buying and shipping gifts for unknown individuals, in hopes that the favor is reciprocated by receiving the promised number of gifts in return. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen. Just like any other pyramid scheme, it relies on the recruitment of individuals to keep the scam afloat." As soon as people quit participating people start to realize it's a scam and it leaves hundreds of people disappointed and giftless.

What is really scary about the “Secret Sister” exchange is that the campaign organizer now has all of your personal information including your address and email. This gives scammers a leg up on scamming you in the future or possibly committing identity theft.

Don't be a victim, ignore the "Secret Sister" scam and tell your friends to avoid the scam as well. If you receive an invitation to join a scheme on social media, just report it. You can report the Facebook posts by clicking in the upper-right-hand corner and select “REPORT POST” or “REPORT PHOTO.”

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