You have probably seen a post or two in your news Facebook News Feed about the "secret sister gift exchange" If you are a woman perhaps you have received an invite.
Search on Facebook for “secret sister gift exchange” and you’ll find people posting and re-posting the same message over and over again. The message claims you can buy a gift for $10 or more, add your name to a list and then receive a bounty of 36 gifts. A lot of people are thinking of doing it, or at least posting about it. It really isn’t a good idea.
Secret sister sounds a whole lot like a pyramid scam. The premise is you only spend $10, get one gift for someone else. Everybody else sends you one. How does this make any sense?
The biggest problem with the post is it’s illegal. United States Post Office regulations are very clear about pyramid schemes, and these gifts are being sent through the mail.
It’s also problematic because your personal information is posted on Facebook. “It’s against Facebook’s terms of agreement. So there’s the potential that Facebook, if they got wind of this, could block your account.”
There's at least one problem with chain letters. They're illegal if they request money or other items of value and promise a substantial return to the participants. Chain letters are a form of gambling, and sending them through the mail (or delivering them in person or by computer, but mailing money to participate) violates Title 18, United States Code, Section 1302, the Postal Lottery Statute. (Chain letters that ask for items of minor value, like picture postcards or recipes, may be mailed, since such items are not things of value within the meaning of the law.)
But it’s so enticing, especially when you see your friends doing it, and inviting you to join in. The chances of you getting 36 gifts are very slim. And what are you going to get? A bunch of junk that you probably don’t want anyway.