Head’s Up: That Secret Sister Gift Exchange Is Actually A Scam

posted: 11/12/15
by: TLCme

All right guys, have you heard about the "Secret Sister" gift exchange? It's been blowing up on Facebook and it promises to get you tons of free gifts for the holidays. But can it be trusted? The short answer? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

So what's the deal? Secret Sister's big idea is that if you buy one gift for a stranger you'll get as many 36 gifts back. It's basically an online holiday gift exchange. Or at least that's how it's being billed all across Facebook:

"Hi ladies! Are you interested in a holiday gift exchange? I don't care where you live, you are welcome to join! I need 6 or more ladies of any age to participate in a Secret Sister gift exchange. You only have to purchase ONE gift valued at $10 or more and send it to ONE secret sister and you will receive 36 gifts in return!!!" reads one note posted on the social networking site. "Let me know if you are interested and I will send the information! Please don't ask to participate if you are not willing to spend the $10 as it would not be fair to the other participant."

People have been claiming that they've been receiving gifts from their Secreet Sisters, too. Butttttttttt, don't believe it. Basically, Secret Sister is just a pyramid scheme (think Bernie Madoff), where some people at the beginning or top of the pyramid might benefit and receive gifts, but later entrants into the Sister program get absolutely nothing. That likely means you.

According to Paul Krenn, of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the hoax is mathematically impossible. "For everyone to receive what they've been promised, each layer of the pyramid must attract new recruits. It's mathematically impossible to sustain."

And also? The Secret Sister exchange is also technically illegal in many states. "Many states have anti-pyramid laws on the books that call into question the legality of these activities," continued Krenn. "Facebook's rules may also prohibit this type of activity."

So maybe keep your secret Santa exchange to people you know this year?