Facebook users have been warned about a Christmas scam that tries to trick people and take advantage of their generosity during the festive period. Christmas is meant to be the time of giving, but con artists are capitalising on that in a cynical scam on Facebook that has reared its ugly head again.
Facebook fans have been put on alert about the ‘Secret Sister’ Christmas scam, which tries to get people to purchase a gift for a stranger. The con claims if Facebook users purchase a gift worth $10 (£7) for a stranger they’ll get between six and 36 presents back in return. It’s all allegedly part of the ‘Secret Sister’ Christmas gift exchange. But as the old adage goes, if it’s too good to be true then it probably is.
Scammers have even gone so far as to post pictures allegedly of gifts they have received thanks to the post on Facebook. But it’s all just a pyramid or ponzi scheme, where people only profit by recruiting more people in the Christmas scam. Once you have sent off a gift, you’re asked to post a pre-written message on your Facebook wall. The post gives a step-by-step guide on how to take part in ‘Secret Sister’ – spreading news of the scam even further in the hope it goes viral.
This “gift exchange” is the latest version of a hoax that’s been around for years. It’s the same premise as a pyramid scheme and the pre-Internet chain letters. The idea is that you send money (or a gift) to the person at the top of the list, cross them off, add your name to the bottom and send the list to more friends. Eventually, you hope, your name will be at the top, and you will receive all the money/gifts.
The holidays bring out a lot of cheer , but they also bring out scams and schemes that tend to separate you from your hard-earned money. Take the time to check out anything that sounds too good to be true. Don’t take the bait. If it sounds too good or outlandish to be true, it’s probably a scam. Stay away from promotions of anything “exclusive,” “shocking” or “sensational.”