How many times have you've been tagged in one of these "Secret Sister" posts in the last week?

For me? It's been four. 2020's been a dumpster fire, so I'm not at all shocked that my well intentioned friends are excited to do something...anything...that might spread smiles and positivity.

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The viral Facebook post invites women to be part of a "Secret Sister" gift exchange. It promises that the gift exchange is super easy and it doesn't matter where you live. Simply buy and send your ONE secret sister a gift valued at $10 and you'll receive anywhere from 6-36 gifts in return.  Sounds pretty harmless, right?

WRONG! According to the Better Business Bureau, not only is the "Secret Sister" gift exchange a pyramid scheme only benefiting the person who got the ball rolling, it's completely illegal. It turns out, gift exchanges like "Secret Sister" are considered a form of gambling. You're putting forward a little risk (your $10 gift) with the promise of a big payoff...all those gifts you're supposed to be getting in return. (Spoiler: You rarely ever get that number of presents back.)

Those taking part in them might find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Something you thought was a nice thing to do for others could leave you facing the possibility of jail time, fines or lawsuits for mail fraud.

Taking part in Secret Sister also opens you up to the ugly world of identity theft as your address, phone number and other personal information are sent to complete strangers who may not be so honest or stand-up in the future.

So what happens if you get tagged in a post like this? The BBB says the best thing to do is ignore being part of one, report social media posts and don't put yourself in a position where you're personal information could end up in the hands of someone you don't know personally.


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