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Wauwatosa Police warn 'Secret Sister Gift Exchange' illegal scam is back

Posted: 7:12 PM, Nov 12, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-13 15:55:17Z

The Wauwatosa Police Department is warning people of a social media scam that resurfaces around the holidays.

The "Secret Sister Gift Exchange" is a pyramid scheme in which users are encouraged to send one gift valued at $10 to a stranger. Users are told that in doing so they will receive 36 gifts for themselves, according to the BBB.

The idea is that six people will invite six more people who will all send gifts to a participant in spot one before that person's name is removed. The process repeats itself with the participant in spot two and so on.

And the catch with the gift exchange, of course, is that participants need to disclose personal information like their home address. 

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service says gift chains like this are illegal and participants could be subject to penalties for mail fraud. 

If you receive a chain letter by mail or through social media the best thing to do is ignore it altogether and do not give out personal information.