BBB: Facebook 'secret sister gift exchange' is an illegal scam

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(ABC and KAKE) -

The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers of an illegal "secret sister gift exchange" scam that is again making the rounds on the internet this holiday season.

The "secret sister gift exchange" invites participants to purchase a gift valued at $10 for a stranger and claims that the participant will then receive as many as 36 gifts from strangers. It also encourages people to invite friends to join.

One post says:

"Ladies...Anyone interest in a holiday gift exchange? It does matter where you live; you are welcome to join. I need at least six ladies to participate in a SECRET SISTER gift exchange. You only have to buy ONE gift valued at at least $10 or more and send it to ONE secret sister, and you will receive 6-36 in return!"

Many said they were 'IN,' while some commented they have tried this in years past and never got a gift.

The BBB called this a "typical pyramid scheme," adding that gift chains like this not only are scams but also are illegal and that those who participate could be subject to penalties for mail fraud.

The agency recommended that consumers check with it before becoming involved in suspicious activity.

"To avoid this scam, the best thing to do is completely ignore it altogether," the BBB said. "Do not give personal information to anyone."

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