CROMWELL, Conn. — From fraudulent coupons to the ever popular "secret sister" scheme, social media scams are already proving to be popular for Connecticut consumers over this holiday season.
Better Business Bureau Serving Connecticut want to help educate consumers about what to look out for on social media while trying to find holiday deals, coupons and offers.
Fraudulent Coupons / Offers
Fake coupons and offers are always popular online but it's popularity increases around the holidays.
Fake social media accounts often post fraudulent coupons that ask consumers to share with friends and may even ask for personal information to "unlock your savings." Always make sure the account posting the coupon or offer is verified and is not a spoofed account.
Remember: Beware of fraudulent offers online for fake coupons that may require your personal information to redeem. Refrain from clicking on links that make you "login" to redeem a coupon. Visiting unsecured websites could also lead to your social media accounts being hacked.
Just this week, Costco posted on Facebook to let customers know about a fake $75 coupon that was circulating on social media.
Secret Sister Gift Exchange
The campaign, which was first big in 2015, has again been circulating on social media sites, in particular Facebook.
The post claims that participants will receive up to 36 gifts in exchange for sending one gift valued at $10. Users are encouraged to invite others to participate in the holiday gift exchange, where they will receive information on where to mail gifts.
But there is one big problem with gift chains like “Secret Sister” – they are pyramid schemes! The U.S. Postal Inspection Services says that gift exchanges are illegal gambling and that participants could be subject to penalties for mail fraud.
Pyramid schemes are illegal, either by mail or on social media, if money or other items of value are requested with assurance of a sizable return for those who participate.
Remember: “Secret Sister” gift exchange and similar invitations are illegal and should be ignored. Avoid sharing your personal information or mailing items to someone you do not know. Secret Sister Gift Exchanges are all about receiving "more" than you give, so if you want to give back, you can always search Give.org
for an accredited charity to donate to this holiday season.