Those ‘Secret Sister’ and ‘Holiday Wine’ gift exchanges you see online are scams, BBB says
MILWAUKEE — If gifting one bottle of wine, in order to receive dozens, seems too good to be true, it probably is.
The Better Business Bureau said wine seems to be this year’s twist on a holiday gift exchange.
The BBB sent a release saying this type of gift exchange is really a pyramid scheme often found promoted on social media through posts like this:
“Hi wine drinking friends!! Let’s do a Holiday Wine Exchange. I did this last year and received so many bottles of wine!”
The post explains that all you need to do is buy a bottle of wine and send it to another participant.
Then you share the invitation on your own social feed: “In exchange, you’ll receive anywhere from 6 to 36 bottles of wine.”
The BBB said once people stop participating in the exchange, the gift supply stops as well and leaves people disappointed without their promised gifts.
Other ‘Secret Sister’ holiday gift exchanges have also popped up on social media, asking people to give one gift in order to receive dozens of others.
Pyramid schemes are illegal in the United States and Canada. The U.S. Postal Inspection Services explains that these gift exchanges are considered a form of gambling and participants could be subject to penalties like fines or lawsuits.
The BBB encourages people to report any social media posts promoting this type of gift exchange and to be wary of false claims. The BBB also wants to remind people never to give a stranger any of their personal information that could open them up to identity theft or other scams.
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