Don’t Fall For These Holiday Gift Exchange And Shopping Scams On Facebook

By Faye F. , Updated Dec 09, 2016 11:01 AM EST

It's that time again of the year for shopping sprees and gift exchanges, and scammers have found a way to exploit the spirit of gift-giving on Facebook.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has issued a warning to consumers to avoid the "secret sister gift exchange" scam that has been making the rounds on Facebook. Essentially, the post invites participants to buy gifts valued at $10 for strangers and they can receive as much as 36 gifts in exchange. But there's a catch as users need to share vital personal information like their home address before they can join the gift exchange. Not only that, the BBB adds that gift chains like these are illegal and participants can be penalized for mail fraud.

The sister gift exchange scam has already churned out plenty of variations, such as the "holiday wine bottle gift exchange", or the "wine gift card exchange." Again, the Facebook post emphasizes that the user needs to buy only one bottle of wine worth $15 or the equivalent wine gift card to receive between 6 - 36 bottles of wine from other participants.

The BBB has also added that these kinds of gift chains are similar to pyramid schemes, and not to mention illegal and dangerous to personal security. If gift exchanges are a must-have for you, the best thing to do is to do it by person and not through Facebook. Less chances of getting scammed as well.

Shopping scams are also going viral on the social network. Users can be led to deceptive shopping websites by clicking on sponsored posts from Facebook and think it's the real deal just because it's sponsored. Farnoosh Torabi, fraud expert and financial ambassador from Chase, advises consumers to use credit cards for online shopping and check out websites diligently before buying anything.

If users come across fraudulent or suspicious ads or posts, the best way to deal with them is to report them on Facebook.

Find out more about the scams here:

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