The “Secret Sister” holiday gift exchange has been making its rounds on social media for a couple years now. We’re going to go over some precautions you may want to consider before participating.

According to the Better Business Bureau, the gift exchange circulates on social media and claims that participants will receive up to 36 gifts in exchange for sending one gift valued at $10. Those who join in are encouraged to invite others to participate in the exchange, where they will receive information on where to mail gifts.

While we can’t say for sure whether a particular gift exchange is legitimate or not, here is some information you may want to consider before joining in.

Things to consider:

  • If you are promised something that is worth more than what you’re expected to pay, it may be a pyramid scheme. Learn to spot the signs of a pyramid scheme.
  • According to the Little Black Book of Scams by the Competition Bureau, while pyramid schemes are often cleverly disguised, they make money by recruiting people rather than by selling a legitimate product or service
    • In Canada it is a crime to promote or participate in a pyramid scheme
  • You may be asked to provide personal information, such as your home address. It is important you only share this information with people you trust.

While we do not have authority over scams or fraud, we like to share this information with consumers. If you believe you’ve been scammed, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

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About Consumer Protection BC

We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at