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WARNING: Watch out for online wine exchanges

Posted: 5:30 PM, Dec 06, 2016
Updated: 2016-12-06 19:13:50-05
Before you share, be aware. A new gift exchange is targeting wine lovers, encouraging them to give a little to get a lot this holiday season. The only problem is there's a high chance they could end up empty handed. 
 
It's called a holiday wine bottle exchange, and it's making its way across your social media page. 
 
"She immediately showed me her account and said what do you think about this?" Andy Glende said.
 
Glende is referring to his wife, who was tagged in a Facebook post encouraging her to join a wine gift exchange. Glende said he isn't buying it. 
 
"I've seen that before, and I was just surprised that it was out there on a Facebook message from one of her friends," he said.
 
According to the post that's making its way across Facebook, the wine exchange is pretty simple: you buy one bottle valued at $15 or more and send it to another wine lover with the expectation of getting much more in return. 
 
"It's a typical pyramid scheme," said Jim Temmer, with the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin. "You're never going to get what they say you're going to get. You don't buy one bottle of wine and get 36 for free." 
 
And it's also a crime. According to the BBB, taking part in a pyramid scheme like this one in the state of Wisconsin is illegal. 
 
"No one but the people that start it, or those at the very top, are going to get anything, and they really rely on personal connections to make these things happen," Tremmer said.
 
Another thing to keep in mind: sharing personal information in an exchange like this could leave you vulnerable to identity theft.
 
If you come across a scam like this one you can always report it to the BBB Scam Tracker at bbb.org.