• 64°

Biz Roundup: BBB warns that ‘Secret Sister’ gift exchange is Illegal

The Better Business Bureau is reminding consumers that the online “Secret Sister” gift exchange and similar invitations are illegal and should be ignored. The campaign, which was first big in 2015, has again been circulating on social media sites, particularly Facebook.

The post says that participants will receive as many as 36 gifts in exchange for sending one gift valued at $10. Users are encouraged to invite others to participate in the holiday gift exchange and receive information on where to mail gifts.

But gift chains like “Secret Sister” are pyramid schemes. The U.S. Postal Inspection Services says that gift exchanges are illegal gambling and that participants could be subject to penalties for mail fraud.

Pyramid schemes are illegal, either by mail or on social media, if money or other items of value are requested with assurance of a sizable return for those who participate.

Here is how the scheme works: If a consumer purchases one gift for a stranger, she will receive as many as 36 gifts in return. This type of gift exchange may seem reasonable enough in theory: six friends invite six more friends, who all send gifts to the participant in Spot 1 before that person’s named is removed. The process repeats itself with the participant in No. 2 spot, and so on.

Starting this gift exchange comes with a catch – you need to disclose personal information, such as your home address.

If you receive a chain letter by mail, email or social media, especially one that involves money or gifts, ignore it, the BBB advises. Report the post to Facebook by clicking on the three dots in the upper right corner of the post.

For more information on scams, check out BBB Scam Tips (BBB.org/scamtips). Report scams to BBB.org/scamtracker.

Comments

Crime

Man charged after thieves rob would-be gun buyers of wallets, shoes

Crime

Blotter: Four added to sheriff’s most wanted list

High School

High school football: Some anxious moments, but Hornets win state title

Local

Photos: Salisbury High Hornets win big in 2AA championship game

Local

County manager outlines projections for the upcoming fiscal year budget, suggests uses for stimulus money

Business

Miami-based Browns Athletic Apparel opens second screen printing location in Salisbury

News

At funeral, fallen Watauga deputies remembered as ‘heroes’

Coronavirus

COVID-19 cluster identified at Granite Quarry Elementary

Coronavirus

More than half of North Carolinians have now taken at least one vaccine shot

Local

City hopes to cover expenses in 2021-22 budget with surplus revenue generated this year

Local

Fallen tree proves to be a blessing for local nonprofit Happy Roots

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Health department drops quarantine time from 14 to 10 days

Crime

Blotter: More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site

Local

City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide

Local

City names downtown recipients for federal Parks Service grant

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs 2021-22 budget priorities, supports buying body cameras

Education

Educators reflect on Teacher Appreciation Week

Education

Livingstone College wins $30,000 Home Depot grant

Education

Shoutouts

News

Shield-A-Badge With Prayer program enters 26th year, accepting volunteers to pair with officers

Education

COVID-19 infection, quarantine numbers in Rowan-Salisbury Schools reach new highs

High School

High school football: Offensive line came together for Hornets, who play for state title tonight

Local

Pro baseball: White makes pro debut and says, ‘It felt amazing to be out there’