Secret Sister scam making revival on social media

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The holidays are a time when thieves prey on unsuspecting people.

The Better Business Bureau says the Secret Sister gift exchange is seeing a revival on social media.

“During the holidays, I think we’re a little more open and more generous and we want to have a good time and enjoy times with our friends. So it makes us a little bit more vulnerable to these scammers,” says Sheri Sword, Vice President of Communications for the BBB.

The scam starts with an email or social media invite in which you’re asked to buy a gift for a stranger. In turn, you get a certain number of gifts. You’re asked to provide your mailing address and other personal information and encouraged to invite others to the gift exchange.

“You’re not going to get rich quick. You’re not going to 36 different gifts. It’s not government approved. It’s not legal. It is illegal,” says Sword.

The BBB has several tips to protect yourself:

  • Ignore it; it might look good, but it’s better to pass
  • Don’t give out any personal information to anyone; you don’t know who it’ll be forwarded to or how it’ll be used
  • Be leery of false claims
  • Do your homework
  • Research it first and make sure everything is on the up and up

The BBB says you can also report the scam on social media.

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