SAN ANGELO, Texas —
It’s a social media post that pops up on your newsfeed, generally around the holiday season, the post is generally aimed at women who may want to participate in receiving multiple gifts for the holiday season.
The post then prompts a person interested to comment, and then, they will receive a message which welcomes them into a Secret Sister Gift Exchange.
From there you are asked to send a gift, generally to someone you know and in exchange, you will receive multiple gifts in a few weeks.
But, that’s not always what happens.
“It happens for the first one or two percent of people that get involved, but mathematically a pyramid scheme cannot work it's just an amount of numbers,” Abilene Better Business Bureau President John Riggins said.
There are some red flags to look out for when it comes to participating in offers such as the Secret Sister Gift Exchange.
“Well, number one, it's on social media. Half of all the logins on social media have based on market research have shown to be inaccurate,” Riggins said.
There is also another big reason why pyramid schemes are not reported.
“What happens with pyramid schemes, is people who are typically to embarrassed that it happened, or they don’t understand it did happen to start with,” Riggins said.
Riggins also said that with any offer on social media, it is best to double-check and do your research before getting too involved.
Not only is the scam about protecting your money, it’s also against the law. According to federal law, Lottery Statute (Title 18, United States Code, Section 1302). They contain all three elements of a lottery: prize (expectation of monetary or other gain from participation in the pyramid); chance (the monetary return you may receive from your participation is entirely up to chance, that is, dependent on the efforts of those below you in the pyramid), and consideration (the price of your gift to join the pyramid).
Participating, even if innocent, can come with a fee, penalties and imprisonment not more than five years.