Participating in that 'Secret Sister Gift Exchange' going around Facebook could be illegal

Orange Is the New Black ChristmasNetflixMerry Christmas from the ladies of the Litchfield Correctional Facility.

While the holiday is still two months away, people are already starting to get into the holiday spirit.

And what better way to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas than with a Facebook scam.

Recently, you might have noticed your Facebook friends sharing statuses about a “secret sister gift exchange.” The idea is that you’ll send one $US10 gift and in exchange receive up to 36 gifts from other people.

Here’s an example.

If you haven’t spotted one of these in your feed, a quick Facebook search for “secret sisters gift exchange” will bring up plenty of results.

Here’s how the exchange supposedly works

  • Once you agree to participate, you’ll be sent a list of 6 names and addresses.
  • You send your gift to the person in the number one spot and bump the number two person to the top of the list.
  • Then you add your name to the number two spot and send the list of six names, which now includes yours, to six new friends.

At best, you might get one gift in exchange for yours, but certainly not 36, Snopes explains. The Christmas gift exchange is similar to chain letter scams you might remember from the 1990s and early 2000s.

Also, it’s illegal! Asking for items of value in exchange for a substantial return (like getting 36 gifts for the price of one) is considered a form of gambling. Sorry secret sisters, but according to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, you could be fined or imprisoned. Worth it?

Just stick to giving a fruitcake to your office secret Santa and skip that Facebook gift chain.

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