Beware of online holiday gift exchange scams

- ‘Tis the season… for online scams.

The most recent scam on Facebook, the “wine exchange” is popping up all over timelines. The post says you mail a bottle of wine for the friend who tags you and then once you copy and paste the post, you tag your friends to send wine and you somehow end up with 6-36 bottles.

The Better Business Bureau put out this warning last year,

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 or 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.  However the scheme relies on constantly recruiting new participants, making it mathematically impossibly to sustain. This may seem like a harmless hoax, but these schemes are a form of gambling and illegal in the U.S. and Canada. 

Those who participate using the mail service could not only face fines and penalties outlined in U.S. Postal Inspection Service's gambling and pyramid scheme laws, the exchange opens participants up to other risks and can be dangerous to your identity.

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