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Posted: December 04, 2017

Christmas gift exchange scam making the rounds on Facebook

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Christmas gift exchange scam making the rounds on Facebook
A mousepad with the Facebook logo is seen at Facebook's new headquarters, designed by Canadian-born American architect Frank Gehry, at Rathbone Place in central London on December 4, 2017. (DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

By Theresa Seiger

Cox Media Group National Content Desk

A familiar scam is making the rounds on Facebook, just in time for the holidays.

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Authorities have warned the site's users about a "secret sister gift exchange" scam. The scheme is circulated through posts on Facebook in which duped users claim that a person can get up to 36 gifts from other people if they agree to buy a single gift worth $10.

The exchange is a scam and might be illegal, according to police in Cookeville, Tennessee.

"Sounds too good to be true? You're right … it is," police said last year in a post on Facebook. "The gift exchange is a modern version of the chain letter scheme and is illegal."

Don’t fall for the post popping up on your news feed about a secret sister gift exchange – it’s a scam and illegal. This...

Posted by Cookeville Police Department on Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The U.S. Postal Service warned that the scam and ones like it are "mathematically impossible."

"Do not be fooled … the primary purpose (of the scam) is to take your money," according to the Postal Service.

The scam has been popular on social media for the last few years. Participants are asked to put their names on a list after agreeing to take part -- ostensibly in order to put them at the top of the list for the next batch of secret Santas.

"You have no idea who you're giving that information to, so ultimately what you're setting yourself up for is identity theft," Danville, Pennsylvania, Police Chief Eric Gill warned WNEP last year. "Sending your private information to somewhere where you have no idea where it's going to go is very foolish."


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