The BBB warns of annual ‘Secret Sister’ gift exchange

Business & Consumer

Woman’s hands give wrapped christmas or other holiday handmade present in paper with red ribbon. Present box, decoration of gift on white wooden table, top view with copy space

(CNN) -The Better Business Bureau is warning against “secret sister” gift exchanges — saying they are illegal pyramid schemes.

It starts with an email or social media invitation.

People are asked to buy and mail a modest gift to a stranger and told they will get a certain number of gifts in return.

They’re also encouraged to invite other people to the gift exchange.

But the BBB says the scam relies on recruiting people to keep it afloat.

It says “once people stop participating in the gift exchange, the gift supply stops as well, and leaves hundreds of disappointed people without their promised gifts.”

The organization recommends:

  • ignoring invitations to secret sister exchanges
  • reporting social media invitations to them
  • never giving your personal information to strangers and being wary of false claims.

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