VERIFY: Is 'secret sisters gift exchange' a scam?

It's the holiday season, and the KHOU Verify team wants to make sure you don't get a lump of coal in your stocking this year.

HOUSTON - It’s the holiday season, and the KHOU Verify team wants to make sure you don’t get a lump of coal in your stocking this year.

Our fact checkers are looking into this popular post spreading on Facebook. Have you seen it? It’s the “secret sister gift exchange,” and it claims you will get between six or 36 gifts just for sending one $10 gift yourself.

So is it a scam? We checked with the Better Business Bureau. The consumer watchdog group says this is a classic pyramid scheme and promises high returns for low investment.

BB says the “secret sisters gift exchange” actually violates Facebook’s terms of service, which says you can’t engage in multi-level marketing. Also, you could be inviting people to steal your personal information, since you are sharing your name, phone number and address.

But most of all, you are breaking the law. The U.S. Postal Service says chain letters are illegal if they request items of value.

So we can verify it’s best to stay away from this gift exchange and stick to real-life secret Santa exchanges.

VERIFY: Sources

Better Business Bureau

U.S. Postal Service

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