Many years before email, the internet, and social media, there was a little thing called a "chain letter". A chain letter involved numerous recipients receiving the same letter and were given instructions to "keep this letter going" in order to receive money, gifts, good luck, or keep away misfortune.

I remember my parents received one when we lived in Sulphur. It was from an anonymous sender that had had written instructions to send out 15 letters in order to not suffer the consequences of losing money or a relative. Morbid right? My mom freaked out when Dad got home, as he spent the next hour convincing her it was a hoax and to ignore it.

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Now, here we are in the 21st Century. We have all grown up and are aware of these schemes, right? Introducing the "Secret Sister Gift Exchange". Not only is this little exchange of trinkets and prizes sketchy, but, according to the US Post Office, it's illegal.

The scam seems innocent enough, perhaps your BFF from highschool posts about the "Secret Sister" gift exchange, and you are all on board. You comment that you're in and you add your name to that list. Next, you are sent a message by that friend the instructions on how to participate. You have to give your name and address in order for the becoup of prizes to be sent to you, but you know your BFF and trust them. What about the others that are on that list? Who are they? There is the million dollar question. With your name and address, identity theft becomes easier and easier, with lots of bad people paying good money for just that exact information.


Just keep in mind that if it looks like a duck, it smells like a duck, it's going to quack at some point in time. Always be careful who you give your information out to, especially during the Holiday season, and don't trust Susan, your old BFF, to send you an apple scented candle for Christmas.

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