This Holiday season a post has been circulating on Facebook for a wine exchange.

The idea is you mail a bottle of wine for the friend who tags you. Then, you copy and paste the post, tag your friends to send you wine, and you end up with 6-36 bottles.

Sound too good to be true? That's because it probably is.

"Ultimately it's considered a pyramid scheme, and that's illegal," explained Mechele Mills, President & CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Central East Texas.

The wine exchange is just the latest in a series of similar schemes that began long before social media.

"This type of thing has been going on forever," said Mills. "They used to have chain letters where people would send money and I've seen it done with flip flops, secret sister gift exchanges, and all types of things."

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Screenshot of Facebook post for holiday wine exchange.

Those who participate using the mail service could not only face fines and penalties outlined in U.S. Postal Inspection Service's gambling & pyramid scheme laws, the exchange opens participants up to other risks.

"You could have a few identity thieves in the mix who will be there to compromise your identity," Mills said. "You're doing this with people who don't know you and they're sending things to you."

Even after sending that bottle of wine to the person who recruited you, you could still end up with an empty glass.

"You're going to have people that don't participate," said Mills. "Mathematically it's just not going to work. Maybe in a perfect world it would, but it's really not even about that. The fact is operating in this way is illegal according to the postal inspector."

Instead of sending wine, flip flops, or other items through the mail and recruiting others to do the same, here's a suggestion…

"Just give gifts to people you know," Mills said. "The good ol' fashioned way I guess."

KYTX
KYTX