Listen Live

With the holiday season already starting, you will probably start seeing social media posts about the “Secret Sister” gift exchange.

>> Read more trending news

The “Secret Sister” posts became popular in 2015, the Better Business Bureau said. It’s when you send one gift and expect to receive up to 36 in return.

Every year the post has slight changes, for example, bottles of wine or $10 gifts, the BBB said, but no matter the cost or the presents, the exchange is technically a pyramid scheme and is illegal.

The BBB said the gift exchange says to provide your name and address as well as the same information for a couple of friends and to add it to a list that was started by someone you may not know. Then you start buying and shipping gifts to people on the list, most likely complete strangers, all in the hope of getting gifts in return, which doesn’t always happen. In the end, you may be left empty-handed, with no gifts after spending money to buy and send your allotment.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Services consider the gift exchange a form of gambling, and if you participate, you could face jail time, fines or a lawsuit for mail fraud, the BBB said.

So, what should you do if you receive a “Secret Sister” request?

The BBB says:

  • Ignore it
  • Report the posts
  • Don’t give personal information to strangers
  • Be wary of false claims

Click here for more information.