Don’t fall for the ‘Secret Sister’ scam on Facebook, police warn

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FILE – This Feb. 19, 2014, file photo, shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. The ACLU is accusing Facebook of discrimination, saying the company violated federal and state laws prohibiting businesses from excluding women from job ads. In a complaint filed Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, with the Equal Employment Opportunity […]

Police departments are again warning the public about the “Secret Sister” gift exchange scam.

The scam is making the rounds on Facebook. It begins with a post asking you to buy a gift of $10 or more.

You’re asked to add your name to a list. In exchange, the scam promises, you’ll receive 36 gifts.

University of South Florida mass communications instructor Kelli Burns knows all about the secret sister gift exchange. “I’ve seen it on Facebook. A couple of my friends are participating,” Burns said last year.

“This is a typical pyramid scheme. We’re just seeing this on Facebook this time instead of the old way of using letters, and Facebook allows it to spread a lot faster,” she added.

The biggest problem with the post is it’s illegal.

United States Post Office regulations are very clear about pyramid schemes, and these gifts are being sent through the mail.

It’s 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,” Burns said.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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