Scam Alert: Book Exchange More than it Seems | Local News | #datingscams | #lovescams | #facebookscams

ARLINGTON, VA — If you love to read, you’d jump at the chance to receive dozens of books in the mail. But think twice before you respond to a social media post about a suspiciously generous book exchange. It’s really a pyramid scheme!

How this scam works

You see a post or get a message on Facebook, Instagram, or another social media platform about a book exchange. The post may come from a trusted friend or a family member. All you need to do is provide your name, email, and the names and contact information of a few book-loving friends. Then, you’ll send one book to a stranger who already signed up. In return, you’ll receive 36 books from people around the globe.

Cool, right? Wrong. This kind of gift exchange is actually an illegal pyramid scam. The book exchange may work initially, but eventually, new people will stop participating or responding to the messages. Then, new recruits will never receive the books they were promised. In addition, you’ll have handed over your personal information – and that of your friends – to a complete stranger.

How to avoid fake website scams:

• Ignore plays on your emotions. Don’t fall for pleas to participate in a book exchange because you’ll be “brightening someone’s day”or “paying it forward.”Think about it logically. Is it sustainable to give one book and receive 36 in return? Offers like these are sure signs of a pyramid scheme.

• Too good to be true? There’s probably a catch. We all like to get things for free, but don’t let this cloud your judgement. Keep in mind that any program that offers big returns for a small contribution is probably doing something illegal.

• Guard your personal information. Never give your name, address, email, or other sensitive information to a stranger. This will make you vulnerable to other scams and identity theft.

• Report social media posts that promote pyramid schemes. If you spot a pyramid scheme on social media, report it by clicking “report post”or “report photo.”

Learn more about the Secret Sister gift exchange scam that pops up each holiday season. You can also report illegal pyramid schemes to Canadian agencies or to the U.S. Postal Inspection Services.

If you’ve spotted a scam (whether or not you’ve lost money), report it to BBB Scam Tracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams. Learn how to spot a scam at

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