Officials Warn About Secret Sister Gift Exchange Scam

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DANVILLE -- Now that the holiday season is here again, so is a familiar holiday scam.

Police are warning people about the "secret sister gift exchange" currently making the rounds on social media, including Facebook.

the secret sister gift exchange promises that if you buy one $10 gift for someone and add your name to a list, you'll get between six and 36 gifts in the mail.

Authorities say it's too good to be true and illegal.

Caitlin Coller of Danville was tagged in a Facebook post.

"At first when I read it, I thought it was pretty cool," said Coller. "The girl who tagged me in it is pretty reliable and is really nice, so it seemed like something she came up with. It seemed like this original thing."

But it's not an original thing. According to investigators, the secret sister gift exchange is a scam.

"You have no idea who you're giving that information to, so ultimately what you're setting yourself up for is identity theft," said Danville Police Chief Eric Gill.

The post asks you to mail a gift to someone on a list add your name and address to the list and you'll get gifts in return.

Chief Gill says it's illegal. The United States Post Office considers this a chain letter which is a form of gambling.

"Sending your private information to somewhere where you have no idea where it's going to go is very foolish," the chief said.

The secret sister gift exchange was popular last year and is making the rounds again.

Rebecca Kurtz of Lewisburg saw it on Facebook but thought it was questionable.

"My cousin has it on hers and I thought, OK, I'm not going to do it, though, because I don't know half the people."

If you want to do a gift exchange, the chief suggests doing one through work or with friends you personally know.

"It would be easier to go down to the local store and purchase something for $10  and wrap it and give it to them."

The Danville police chief says that if you are invited to take part in the secret sister gift exchange, just say no.

You can also report it to Facebook.


  • Don't Understand?

    I don’t understand how this is a scam. How is it a “pyramid scheme” if I know the two people on the list, in actual, real life? One is who I would be sending a gift to. I don’t understand how or why it’s a scam? Is it the “promise” of gifts in return? It’s just an exchange, isn’t it?

  • zebu rider

    iTS WHAT IS CALLED A PYRAMID SCHEME. the only people who benefit on pyramid schemes are the ones who are at the beginning asuming it is sucessfull which it probablly wont be and assuming like the article says no identy theft or other hanky panky stuff takes place. Right up there with that nygerian prince with millions just waiting for you.

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