HOUSTON - If your friends are sharing the "Secret wine bottle exchange" message on Facebook looking for people who want to send one bottle of wine and receive up to 36 in return, don't join in.
In fact, the Better Business Bureau says you should warn them it's a scam. The BBB warned consumers last year that a similar "Secret Sister" gift exchange was nothing more than a pyramid scheme.
Here's how the exchanges work: If you buy one gift (or bottle of wine) for a stranger, you will supposedly receive as many as 36 gifts (or bottles) in return. Six friends invite six more friends, who all send gifts to the participant in spot 1 before that person's named is removed. This process repeats itself with the participant in the 2 spot, and so on. The people at the bottom give, but they will never get anything.
Pyramid schemes are illegal. Aside from that, joining the exchanges requires you to disclose your personal information, like your home address, to strangers online. The BBB says you will give out personal information and get nothing in return.
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