(Mirror Daily, United States) – Hoaxes on Facebook are so regular you could set your watch after them. After the “legal notice” that made rounds several weeks ago, this month you must beware of the “secret sister gift exchange”.
You probably already know what this is about; this is a chain-message in the form of an alleged gift exchange that sounds something like this: “I need 6 or more ladies of any age to participate in a secret sister gift exchange. All those interested in participating, private message me for additional details.”
For those who are still confused as to what this is about, just perform a quick search for “secret sisters gift exchange” on Facebook – there are plenty of examples and variants of this hoax. The private message usually includes a list of names, and you have to send a $10 gift to the first person on the list, and write your name in in second place.
The message also includes the promise that after sending just one $10 gift, you’ll be the recipient of 36 gifts in exchange. It sounds rather inoffensive and very much into good-spirited holiday cheer, but is it really so? Should people participate?
The younger generation might not recognize the strategy, but authorities are on alert as this resembles a pyramid scheme, like the ones popular in the 90s, when letters used to come in the mail. But seeing that these gifts are sent through the mail to actual people – to their homes or work places – authorities are concerned they could be a problem.
As it usually goes with chain letter, participants must provide personal information, such as names and addresses, and share it with several individuals whom you may or may not know. According to the federal law cited on the website of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, chain letters are “illegal if they request money or other items of value and promise a substantial return to the participants.”
Giving out information – credit card information or names and address – is a dangerous proposition that could encourage identity theft. But most people get carried away by the early gift giving season, and they think it’s something different and exciting.
And, as some users have already experienced, if you actually receive a gift, it may not be as nice as you expected. It’s $10, what non-ridiculous gift could you receive that’s really great? Experts advise the ladies to avoid getting involved at all, and keep that personal information private for obvious reasons.
Image Source: Michael Mapes