Illegal pyramid schemes take many forms. Year after year since 2015 I have warned you about the Secret Sister Gift Exchange, which keeps reappearing each year around the holidays. It seems harmless enough when you see it come up in your email or on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter where it has increasingly been found. It starts when you are provided a list of six people. You are told to send a gift worth at least ten dollars to the first person on the list, remove that person’s name from the list, move the second person on the list to the first position, add your name to the end of the list and then send the list to six of your friends. In theory, you will receive thirty-six gifts for your small contribution of ten dollars.
So where is the harm?
First of all, it is a blatantly illegal chain letter and violates Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 1302. In addition, like all chain letters, ultimately, it is destined to fail because it is a pyramid scheme where eventually we run out of people on the planet to maintain the scheme. Now a scam similar to the Secret Sister Gift Exchange has reappeared. It is the Blessing Loom and it first appeared in 2016, but has come back and, particularly with so many people concerned about their finances due to the Coronavirus pandemic, is scamming more and more people desperate for cash. The Blessing Loom offers you the opportunity to be paid $800 for a one-time payment of $100 using a PayPal account or other digital payment service. Your name fills a space outside the loom, and you’re told to recruit others to fill in the other spaces. Once you advance and it’s your turn to be in the center, you receive the money.
Here is a copy of one of the posts used in this scam.
Like the Secret Sister Gift Exchange, the Blessing Loom is nothing more than a repackaged chain letter. You should avoid all chain letters regardless of the guise under which you receive them. They are illegal. In addition, although in some instances this particular chain letter is turning up on Facebook pages, it is a violation of your Facebook terms of agreement, so you potentially face the loss of your Facebook account if you participate in the scheme.
For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”
If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is to go to the bottom of the initial page of http://www.scamicide.com and click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”