Beware: Old scam making new rounds on social media

Posted at 6:47 PM, Nov 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-13 18:55:05-05

Scammers looking to exploit the holidays are now using social media to get more people to fall for the "Secret Sister" scam.

The "Secret Sister" scam is just a pyramid scheme disguised as a gift exchange and it closely resembles "Get Rich Quick" chain-mail letters from the past.

Messages are sent through Facebook asking people to make someone's day brighter by sending a surprise $10 gift.  The victim is asked to get several of her friends to do the same.  

Victims are promised they will receive many gifts from people looking to return the favor.

Like all pyramid schemes, only people at the top of the pyramid chain benefit.

Not only are you turning over your address to someone you don't know, and losing money, but the gift exchange is illegal because it uses the U.S. Postal Service - which prohibits lottery chains from using the mail.

People who use the mail for pyramid schemes can face federal penalties of fines and imprisonment.

If you receive any suspicious offer, promotion or solicitation that relies on the mail, you should either take it to a local post office or hand it to a letter carrier so it can be investigated.

You can report postal fraud at the following website: https://www.postalinspectors.uspis.gov or call 877-876-2455 and say "fraud."

Concerned individuals can also mail concerns to:

U.S. Postal Inspection Service

Criminal Investigations Service Center

433 W. Harrison Street, Room 3255

Chicago, IL  60699-3255

In addition, possible scams should be reported to the Better Business Bureau so they can be tracked locally and across the nation: https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker/us

7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly has more in his attached report.



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