Police warn against Facebook ‘Secret Sister’ scam

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Police departments are once again warning the public to not fall for a “Secret Sister” gift exchange scam making the rounds on Facebook.

The scam begins as a Facebook post asking you to buy a gift of $10 or more, add your name to a list and you will receive 36 gifts in return.

The scam was circulated heavily on Facebook last Christmas and is making the rounds again this year.

The Cookeville Police Department told WKRN-TV the scam a modern take of a chain letter scheme and it is illegal. Chain letters are essentially forms of gambling and sending them through the mail violates postal laws.

“You only spend $10, get one gift for someone else. Everybody else sends you one. Doesn’t make sense,” Lauren Kidwell told WFLA-TV.

The scam is also problematic because your personal information is posted on Facebook.

“It’s against Facebook’s terms of agreement. So there’s the potential that Facebook, if they got wind of this, could block your account,” said University of South Florida mass communications instructor Kelli Burns. ”The chances of you getting 36 gifts are very slim. And what are you gonna get? A bunch of junk that you probably don’t want anyway.”

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