BBB issues warning as ‘Secret Sister’ pyramid scheme resurfaces

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CLEVELAND (WJW)– The Better Business Bureau is issuing another warning about the popular “Secret Sister” gift exchange.

It first gained attention in 2015 on Facebook with promises participants would receive up to 36 gifts in exchange for sending one. But according to the BBB, it’s a pyramid scheme and it’s illegal.

“Each holiday season the scheme pops back up. A newer version of this scam revolves around exchanging bottles of wine; another suggests purchasing $10 gifts online. You might see references to receiving ‘happy mail’ or doing the exchange ‘for the good of the sisterhood,” BBB said in a news release.

The “Secret Sister” invitations ask for your name, address and the personal information of a few friends. Then it’s your turn to send a gift to a stranger.

“Just like any other pyramid scheme, it relies on the recruitment of individuals to keep the scam afloat. 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 BBB said.

If someone promises gifts or cash by mail, the BBB recommends you ignore it, report the social media post and never give your personal information to strangers.

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