Wine Gift Exchange on Facebook: Don’t Believe It!

Image: MGN Online

Last year it was the “Secret Sister Gift Exchange”. This year, it’s the “Wine Gift Exchange”.

Here’s How the Scam Works:

Be careful if you see a post from a friend that claims they’ve received as many as 36 bottles of wine, simply by sending a bottle of wine to the person at the top of the list in the post. The post continues the scam by saying that all you have to do is cross the top name off the list, add your name at the bottom, and send the list to other friends inviting them to participate. “The idea is that your name will eventually be at the top, and you will receive all the gifts.  However the scheme relies on constantly recruiting new participants, making it mathematically impossible to sustain. The reality: This is a type of pyramid scheme and very similar to the pre-Internet chain letters.  This may seem like a harmless hoax, but these schemes are a form of gambling and illegal in the U.S. and Canada.”

Protect Yourself From Social Media Scams:

  • Be skeptical of any post inviting you to participate in a gift exchange, even if it appears to be from a friend. Scammers often hijack another person’s Facebook profile to perpetuate their scheme.
  • Beware of any offer that asks you to provide personal financial information that could be used for identity theft.
  • Stay away from promotions of anything “exclusive,” “shocking,” or “sensational.”
  • Be careful of shortened links. Scammers use link-shortening services to disguise malicious links. Don’t fall for it. If you don’t recognize the link destination, don’t click.
  • Don’t trust your friends’ taste online. It might not actually be them “liking” or sharing links to photos. Their account may have been hacked or compromised by malware.
  • Report scam posts and other suspicious activity to Facebook by following these instructions. Source bbb.org and BBB Upstate New York

To report a scam, go to the BBB Scam Tracker. To find trustworthy businesses, go to bbb.org.