Secret Sister Scam – An Illegal Pyramid Scheme Gone Viral

There is much speculation and debate regarding a rather clever gift exchange known as the Secret Sister.

Taken root through social media outlets like Facebook, the Secret Sister holiday gift exchange is nothing more than a diabolical pyramid scheme in disguise.

While the ideology behind Secret Sister may seem believable to most, the Better Business Bureau is urging the general public to not only avoid this illegal scheme but to report it promptly to overseeing authorities.

To learn more regarding the Secret Sister scam we invite you to collect the facts that we have laid out for you throughout the duration of our unbiased review!

What is the Secret Sister Scam?

The Secret Sister scam is an illegal pyramid scheme built upon a ridiculous concept.

That concept being that by sending 1 gift valued at $10 that in return you will receive 36 gifts.

While in theory this may sound like an amazing opportunity, the math behind this scheme just doesn’t add up.

Where is the Secret Sister Exchange taking root at?

Social media outlets, more specifically Facebook, has served as the ideal nesting grounds for this illegal pyramid scheme.

Where the prospect of receiving gifts from outside the traditional family and friends circle is the element that attracts most consumers to this scam.

Just the thought of receiving an unknown gift from someone can not only being an exciting sensation to experience but one that allows for a consumers usual defenses to be lowered.

Hint the reason why the Secret Sister holiday gift exchange has gone viral across the net.

Understanding the Pyramid Scheme

The model behind “Secret Sister” is simply enough to understand once broken down.

The theory behind this model would be that a consumer purchases one gift for a stranger where they will then receive 36 in return.

All one simply has to do is purchase one $10 gift then invite 6 friends to participate.

Those 6 friends will then invite 6 more friends to participate and so on and so forth.

Slowly but surely a person’s name up be moved up the query where once you are the top it will be your turn to allegedly receive the 36 gifts.

The hook, line and sinker of the Secret Sister scam would be that you have to disclose personal information such as your home address in order to “receive the gifts.”

Why Secret Sister Gift Exchanges are Illegal

The Secret Sister gift exchange is illegal because it is pyramid scheme.

According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Services, these gift exchanges are considered as illegal gambling and those who participate could be subject to penalties for mail fraud.

To add, fraudulent pyramid schemes more often than not violate the Lottery Statute (Title 18, United States Code, Section 1302).

The three elements associated with a lottery would be as followed:


Expectation of monetary or other gain from the participation in the pyramid.


The monetary return you may receive from your participation is entirely up to chance, that is, dependent on the efforts of those below you in the pyramid.


The price of your gift to join the pyramid.

Pyramid schemes reflect hefty penalties, where if convicted federally you may be fined or imprisoned not more than two years, or both; and for any subsequent offense you may be imprisoned not more than 5 years.

Better Business Bureau Warning

The Better Business Bureau is urging consumers to ignore any chain letters they may receive by mail, email or social media. In addition, you can report the post to Facebook by simply clicking the 3 titles dots on the upper right-hand corner of the post.

What Others Are Saying

The community feedback circulating around the Secret Sister scam should provide you with enough evidence to deter you away from this illegal pyramid scheme.

Better Business Bureau – “…the online “Secret Sister” gift exchange and similar invitations are illegal and should be ignored.”

CBSNews – “It seems like great way to spread the holiday cheer, but it’s not. It’s a scam.”

Business Insider – “The ‘secret sister’ gift exchange on Facebook is actually an illegal pyramid scheme.”

Given the information shared with you above we feel that it is quite clear that the Secret Sister holiday gift exchange is not only a scam but illegal.

Our advice would be to AVOID the Secret Sister Scam AT ALL COSTS!

Secret Sister Review Conclusion

The spirit of giving along with the adage that it’s better to give than to receive is where most consumers find themselves at risk with the Secret Sister gift exchange.

Making their big debut back in 2015, the Secret Sister gift exchange scam has resurfaced and has once again become a viral illegal pyramid scheme.

If you find yourself in the middle of a Secret Sister gift exchange, make sure to seize all communication and more importantly DO NOT invite others to participate with this illegal gift exchange scam.

Outcome: Do NOT Participate in Secret Sister Exchanges

We invite you to share any insight, feedback or opinions you may have below!


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