Update: November 14, 2019 0:56 a.m.
We've got a new scam going around people! It's essentially the same thing but with gifts instead of wine. According to the Facebook post making the rounds, the Secret Sister gift exchange is a holiday gift exchange that supposedly gives you a substantial return of Christmas presents.
Like the Secret Santa gift exchange with bottles of wine, this is a full-blown pyramid scheme. Which according to the BBB, are illegal and fall under illegal pyramid scheme laws.
Original article continues below:
The holiday season is right around the corner and so are scammers so it seems. This year a "Secret Wine Bottle Exchange" is hitting Facebook, asking you to buy a $15 bottle of wine and send it to a fellow wine lover. Once you send off the wine, you are expected 6-36 bottles in return. Pyramid scheme anyone?
Sounds too good to be true, am I right? I mean who doesn't love a bunch of free wine?
According to the Better Business Bureau, "Gift chains like this are illegal and participants could be subject to penalties for mail fraud." That's not the only red tape, as Good Housekeeping pointed out.
USPS, UPS and Fedex have strict guidelines about sending alcohol through the mail. The USPS doesn't allow you to send any at all, and UPS and Fedex state that the box must be clearly labeled to contain alcohol. The chain works like a pyramid scheme, working as a way of getting more wine then you gave. Pyramid schemes are illegal in the United States and on top of that would require you to give out your address to complete strangers.
Still looking to exchange some wine this holiday season? Plan a neighborhood wine exchange with your friends. Have everyone bring over a bottle of wine wrapped up, then exchange the bottles randomly.
That way you know for sure where your wine is coming from and you get to spend an entire evening drinking wine with your friends.