The persons behind the scheme may list their names numerous times, in various forms with different addresses, therefore, all the gifts in the chain will go to them. The primary purpose of the scheme is to take as many gifts as possible and convert some to cash by selling them and keep the rest.
Recently, chain letters have begun surfacing, but this time, technology like the internet is used instead of paper. But, regardless of what technology is used to distribute the chain letters, it is still illegal if a request for items of value or money are promised for something substantial in return for participating because it is a form of gambling.
A Secret Santa Facebook Scam
Welcome to our secret santa gift exchange! Here's how it works:
1) Send one gift value at least $10 to secret santa #1 below.
2) Remove secret santa's name from #1; then move secret santa #2 to that spot.
3) Add your name to #2 with your info.
4) Then send this info to 6 other ladies with the updated name info
5) Copy the secret santa request that I posted on my wall, to your own wall. If you cannot complete this within 1 week please notify me, as it isn't fair to the ladies who have participated and are waiting for their own gifts to arrive. You might want to order directly from a web-based service (Amazon, or any other online shop) which saves a trip to the post office. Soon you should receive 36 gifts! What a deal, 36 gifts for giving just one! Be sure to include some information about yourself ... some of your favorites. Seldom does anyone drop out because it's so much fun to send a gift to someone you may or may not know ... and of course it's fun to receive. You should begin receiving gifts in about 2 weeks if you get your letters out to your 6 people right away.
This so-called gift exchange is just one of the thousands of chain letters that started years ago that was done using snail or paper mail. But, what makes the Facebook “Secret Santa Gift Exchange” slightly different, is the fact that it is done electronically via the internet, using email messages and social media posts instead of paper. And, now the scammers behind the gift exchange want participants to use web-based service like Amazon, or other online store instead of the post office.
Few years again, a chain letter was a "get rich quick" scheme that promises participants that their mail boxes will soon be stuffed full of cash if they decide to participate. The participants were told that they can make thousands of dollars every month if they follow the detailed instructions in the letter. A typical chain letter includes names and addresses of several individuals whom the participants may or may not know. The participants are instructed to send a certain amount of money to the person at the top of the list, and then eliminate that name and add theirs to the bottom. They are then instructed to mail copies of the letter to a few more individuals who will hopefully repeat the entire process. The letter promises that if they follow the same procedure, their names will gradually move to the top of the list and you'll receive lots of money.
Now, the same chain letter scheme has been rebranded; gifts are now being used instead of cash, social media websites and internet are being used instead of the post office, and online shops or stores like Amazon are being used for delivery instead of the post office.
Remember, Facebook “Secret Santa Gift Exchange” chain letter pyramid scheme is not the first and will surely not be the last. So, internet users should be careful when participating in certain activities online, especially when money, gifts and other items of value are involved.