LITTLE ROCK â€“ The Secret Santa/Secret Sister scams are making the rounds again on social media. Save your money, postage and heartache, and keep on scrolling when you spot an offer that seems too good to be true. The scam works by requesting online “friends” to send relatively inexpensive gifts or gift cards to those on an email or social media chain, with the promise that they, too, will receive gifts in the exchange. At the very least, participants will spend money and send gifts without getting anything in return. At worst, scammers use personal information posted on social media to participate, often leading to identity theft.

“The shared post may seem harmless about ‘Secret Santa’ when it comes from your great aunt or a college buddy on social media, but these innocent re-posts are a scam,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “It is important for Arkansans to know there are hidden dangers on social media and no one is safe when it comes to their wallet and personal information.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for consumers to avoid the Secret Santa scam:

  • Consumers should never disclose their personal information to an unknown person online because it could result in identity theft or the opening of other accounts in their name.
  • Unfortunately it is unlikely that a consumer will actually receive gifts in response to such a scheme; because if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • Consult the terms of use for Facebook and other social media platforms as they may prohibit schemes like this one.
  • Review guidance available from the U.S. Postal Service because it may be illegal to send the requested gift cards.
  • Consumers should safeguard their banking and financial information in order to prevent theft due to scams.
  • When using the internet, consumers should ensure that they are using a verified, secure, and encrypted website when sharing any personal or financial information online.