Beware Of New ‘Secret Santa’ Scam Preying On Michigan Residents
The holidays are all about giving, but for some it's all about preying on those givers to get their money. And now Michigan residents are being warned of a new twist on an old scam this holiday season. One using the popular 'Secret Santa' gift exchange is now targeting people online.
What is the 'Secret Santa' Scam?
Also known as the 'Secret Sister' gift exchange, this online scam became popular through Facebook. The scam came through Facebook posts promising participants would receive up to 36 gifts in exchange for sending one gift. The scheme starts with an invitation through email or social media to 'sign up for a great, fun program'. You give your name, address, and information on a few of your friends. That information is then added to a list that’s already started of people you’ve never met on the internet. Next, it’s your turn to send an email or social media invite to send a gift or bottle of wine to a stranger along with their friends, family, and contacts.
New Twist on 'Secret Santa' Scam
According to the Better Business Bureau, variations of this scam are popping up online ahead of the holiday season. One scam asks you to give your e-transfer email and asks users to pick a name off a list and send money to strangers to "pay it forward." There's also the "Secret Santa Dog," scam where you are asked to buy a $10 gift for a "secret dog." All of these scams are asking for your personal information and asking you to buy and ship gifts to strangers where you receive gifts in return and that doesn't happen. The BBB urges people to report these scams and never give away your personal information.