“Secret Wine Bottle Exchange” Scheme Hitting Facebook

Outline:
Post circulating on Facebook asks users to participate in a “secret wine bottle exchange” in which participants can supposedly send just one bottle of wine and receive up to 36 bottles in return.




Brief Analysis:
It is not a good idea to participate in this or other such schemes. This is just a variant of the “secret sister” gift exchange that returns every year as Christmas draws near. As detailed below, these schemes never work as described and many participants will never receive any bottles of wine at all. Moreover, in many jurisdictions, including the US where a lot of these posts originate, such schemes are illegal. And, by participating, you are also sharing personal information with strangers and have no control over where this information will end up. Just don’t do it.

Example:
ATTENTION WINE DRINKERS 🍷🍷
Anyone interested in a holiday wine bottle exchange🤔? It doesn’t matter where you live, you are welcome to join. I need a minimum of 6 (or preferably up to 36) wine lovers to participate in a secret wine bottle exchange.
You only have to buy ONE bottle of wine🍷 valued at $15 or more and send it to ONE secret wine lover. Afterwards, you will receive from 6 to 36 wine bottles in return😬!! It all depends how many wine drinkers join.
Let me know if you are interested and I will send you the information! Please don’t ask to participate if you’re not going to follow through with sending one wine bottle.🙄
TIS THE SEASON!🎄❤️🎁🍷
Comment below “I’M IN” and I’ll send you the details via fb messenger – if they are confusing at all, please let me know!!
This is real! Many participated last year and received so many amazing wines from around the 🌎!!!!





Detailed Analysis:
Posts currently circulating on Facebook are inviting users to join a secret wine bottle exchange. Supposedly, participants purchase and send one bottle of wine valued at $15 to one secret wine lover.  By doing so, claim the posts, participants will each receive between 6 and 36 bottles of wine in return. In fact, the scheme described is just a variant of the “secret sister” gift exchange posts that circulate every year near Christmas.

Alas, these schemes simply do not work. They have been around in various forms for many years but none of these schemes has ever worked as described.  Some versions ask you to send a small amount of cash and promise that you will receive hundreds of dollars in return.  But, be it bottles of wine, gifts, cash, or anything else, the basic idea is just the same and just as fundamentally flawed. They are simply chain letters with a twist. And, these schemes always fail because they rely for success on ALL participants sending the cash or product to the right people and being entirely honest in the process. In this example, while some participants may receive some bottles of wine, many will likely receive none at all.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS)  has warned people about such chain letter schemes  via a report on its website, which notes:

Chain letters don’t work because the promise that all participants in a chain letter will be winners is mathematically impossible. Also, many people participate, but do not send money to the person at the top of the list. Some others create a chain letter that lists their name numerous times–in various forms with different addressee. So, in reality, all the money in a chain is going to one person.

Moreover, in some jurisdictions, including the United States where many of the posts originate, such a scheme is actually illegal.  The USPIS article further notes:

There’s at least one problem with chain letters. They’re illegal if they request money or other items of value and promise a substantial return to the participants. Chain letters are a form of gambling, and sending them through the mail (or delivering them in person or by computer, but mailing money to participate) violates Title 18, United States Code, Section 1302, the Postal Lottery Statute.

Another significant problem with this wine exchange scheme and others of its ilk is that, by participating, you are required to share personal information such as your name, address and perhaps other identifying details with strangers. You will have no control over where this information goes or who will be able to access it.

Bottom line? Don’t be tempted to participate in one of these schemes. They do not work as described, they may well be illegal where you live, and you will be exposing your personal information to strangers. And, since many participants will not receive any wine or gifts at all, such schemes are ethically dubious at best.

Still not convinced? Then I suggest you have a read of this excellent report on the topic by our friends over at ThatsNonsense.com.


Beware of Secret Wine Bottle Exchange Schemes

Last updated: December 7, 2016
First published: December 7, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Beware Of “Secret Sister Gift Exchange” Schemes
The 36 books for 1 “book exchange” pyramid scheme debunked…
USPIS – Chain Letters

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