Seasonal Facebook Gift Exchanges Aren't What They Seem

December 18, 2017


Vancouver, BC – In 2016 BBB saw an increase in people getting involved in Facebook gift exchanges that made big promises but failed to deliver. In particular was the Facebook Wine Exchange. You know the drill…send someone one bottle of wine and miraculously you’ll receive 36 bottles in return! If it were only that easy.

Gift exchanges on Facebook have been hanging around in various forms since 2015 and they all have the same pyramid feel…that’s because they are simple pyramid schemes. Sending one bottle of wine seems harmless enough, however, operating and taking part in a pyramid scheme is illegal in Canada and while you might not get arrested for sending a bottle of wine, you could face penalties or fines.

“Fortunately, we haven’t seen the wine version of the Facebook Gift Exchange show its head much this holiday season,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “But that doesn’t mean it’s not out there or offering some other exchange where users are lead to believe you can get multiples in return for one input. Like any pyramid scheme, the person who starts it gets all the booty and the rest lose out.”

Whether you are giving wine or cash, pyramid schemes have one common factor; they are driven by recruitment. Which means in order to get those 36 bottles of wine you need to bring in that many people.

BBB offers these tips to avoid a pyramid scheme:

• Be wary of “opportunities” to invest in things where the success or failure relies on subsequent recruitment.
• Independently verify the legitimacy of any franchise or investment before you invest.
• If it seems too good to be true, it is. Be wary of promises of low risk and high returns.
• Investigate. Ask around. Search online. Be skeptical.
• If no product or service is being offered or sold, how does it make money?
• Invest your money with reputable investment professionals and firms with a track record.
• Be very wary of investments that promise low risk and high returns.


Media Contacts:

Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor
BBB Serving Mainland BC
404-788 Beatty Street
Vancouver, BC
V6B 2M1

About BBB:

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 365 million times for BBB Business Reviews, all available for free at BBB Serving Mainland B.C., founded in 1939 and serving the Lower Mainland, Thompson-Okanagan, Northern, Central and Southern Interior BC, and the Yukon, is one of 108 local, independent BBBs across North America. In 2016, consumers turned to BBB Serving Mainland B.C. more than 2 million times for Business Reviews and processed 6,000 complaints.