Jill Layton
November 06, 2015 11:11 pm

Heads-up everyone, there’s a huge hoax happening on Facebook, and chances are, you or someone you know is participating. If you’ve been on Facebook in the past few days, you may have noticed something called the “Secret Sister Exchange”. It’s literally everywhere. People all across Facebook are posting and reposting the same message that claims if you purchase a gift for $10 or more and add your name and address to a list, you’ll receive 36 gifts in return. Sound too good to be true? That’s because it is.

We totally get why people would want to jump on board, though. Who doesn’t love gifts? Especially 36 of them! And when it’s posted by a friend, what’s not to trust? Unfortunately, all of it. But don’t blame your friends — they probably had no idea.

To sign up for the “exchange”, you have to include your name and address on the list. But who has access to the list? Countless people you’ve never even met. So not only is it super dangerous, but according to the post office, it’s  illegal. Posting your address is also against Facebook’s regulations, so your page could get shut down. Pyramid schemes can work, but it’s pretty dicey to take part in one that requires sending your personal info to strangers, especially over the Internet. It’s possible gifts may arrive to your home, but it’s more likely that they won’t. And then of course your info is out there floating around social media land.

“This is a typical pyramid scheme. We’re just seeing this on Facebook this time instead of the old way of using letters, and Facebook allows it to spread a lot faster,” University of South Florida mass communications instructor Kelli Burns told NBC affiliate WFLA. ”The chances of you getting 36 gifts are very slim. And what are you gonna get? A bunch of junk that you probably don’t want anyway.”

Right. Junk. It’s hard enough for our own families to get us gifts we like, let alone complete Internet strangers. So if you’ve already posted the message, you may want to take it down. It’s not worth the risk of strangers having your address or the risk of receiving junk.

Related reading:

It turns out that ‘Yelp for Humans’ app was probably just a big hoax

These horrifying urban legends you’ve heard as a kid aren’t actually true

(Featured image via Shutterstock)

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