“Secret Sister Gift Exchange” Could Make You Break The Law


If you have been on Facebook in the last two weeks, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a post about the “secret sister gift exchange.”

Many of you have contacted us to see whether it’s a hoax.

We found out, the “secret” isn’t just the person sending you a gift, but that your involvement is actually against federal law.

The post asks you to send one $10 gift, get 6 friends to do the same, and you’ll get 36 in return.

With those odds, it’s no wonder it’s getting a lot of attention on social media.

“I sent a reply to one friend saying I’d love to join in, and it just seemed like a great thing to do this time of year,” said Allison Ownbey in Spartanburg.

Misty Mays in Easley also signed up.

“Within about a week I got my first gift, and I’ve gotten 6 so far.”

Mays sent us a photo of everything she got in the last two weeks from a cookie plate to a blender.

And yet, there’s one problem, it happens to be against the law.

Attorney Ken Anthony in Spartanburg explains why.

“If people are just exchanging gifts, there’s nothing wrong with that, I send you a $10 gift, you send me a $10 gift, we’re even. It’s when you go to someone and solicit and say, I want you to do this, I want you to buy something, I want you to send it on, and you will get a big reward out of it, that’s gambling, that’s a lottery, that’s what’s called a pyramid scheme.”

“To find out there’s actual aspects that are illegal just blows my mind,” said Ownbey.

Anthony says it’s the mailing of the package that’s the actual Federal offense, and the solicitation isn’t legal either, though your chances of getting arrested are small, if that.

Another concern, thousands of people are putting their home address on social media. And that, can open you up to scams, which is why Owenby thought against it.

Mays got 1/6th of her gifts, but it’s not an exchange she would repeat.

“Not with it being illegal, but if it wasn’t, yeah, I’d probably do it every year,” she said.

The giving time is exciting enough, when you don’t get friend and family wrapped up, in a gift scheme.

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