BBB warns postal gift exchanges are a pyramid scheme, constituting illegal gambling in Canada.
Day in and day out, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is tasked with investigating claims of industrial malpractice. They warn the public of any duplicitous activities they find along the way. For the last few years, the organization has been warning people against partaking in questionable Secret Santa style gift exchanges that aren’t just a rip-off. They can get participants in trouble with the law.
Since its inception in 2012, LeoVegas has been recognized several times for innovation in the gaming industry. With no less than 15 awards, it has established itself as the hub of real money gaming entertainment in Canada.
Since then LeoVegas has expanded its portfolio of offerings, the most notable addition being a high-end "live dealer casino". To accomplish this feat, LeoVegas invested in state of the art technology, including real time camera systems coupled with top of the line security systems to mimick the brick and mortar casino feel online; and with the most attractive dealers you have ever seen.
LeoVegas covers the entire pantheon of classical games from slots, table games like blackjack, video poker, progressive slots, scratch cards, to casual games. The games are powered by Playson, slick and easy to use software, which offers the whole gamut of a premium gambling experience.
Recommended by Editorial Team for 2020
Most of us are familiar with gift exchanges during the holiday season. They are innocent affairs, often held within an office setting. Each person purchases of a gift, not to exceed a certain value, and secretly gives it to another person. Everyone buys a gift—every gets a gift. It’s all fair and each participant has a good time.
But some gift exchanges aren’t so fair… especially the ones being advertised on social media pages like Facebook. The BBB is trying to ensure that no one else falls victim to these popular scams.
BBB Warns Against Pyramid Gift Exchanges
It all started in 2015 when the ‘Secret Sisters‘ gift exchange appeared. To participate, a person was required to send one $10 gift to the address provided to them. They would, in turn, receive a gift of equal value from another participant. Not just one gift, though. The gift exchange promises each person will receive as any as 36 gifts.
That last specification makes the whole scheme illegal. Most of you will recognize it as a pyramid scheme. It begins with 6 friends. Each of the friends invites six more friends. Those invited are asked to send a gift to the person at the top of the list. That person’s name is then crossed off. The next set of recruits will send gifts to the second person on the list, and so on.
According to BBB, the Secret Sisters gift exchange is still in circulation, as are many other scams like it. And the pyramidal aspect isn’t the only thing illegal about them.
Illegal Gambling in Canada, Mail Fraud in US
You might not consider a seemingly innocent gift exchange to be anything remotely similar to gambling, but it is. Think about the design for a moment. Participants are paying a price ($10) to purchase something of value (a gift), granting them permission to participate in activity in which they hope to—but are not guaranteed to—receive something of value; something possibly worth much greater value than their original investment.
How is this not the exact definition of gambling? The BBB points that out too, as well as the fact that, according to the US Postal Inspection Service, pyramid gift exchanges also constitute mail fraud.
“U.S. Postal Inspectors investigate any crime in which the U.S. Mail is used to further a scheme–whether it originated in the mail, by telephone, or on the Internet. The use of the U.S. Mail is what makes it mail fraud.”
The BBB has advice for anyone who receives an invitation to join the Secret Sisters or any other similar gift exchange. If the invitation comes by way of email or conventional mail, simply ignore and delete it, or throw it away. If the invitation appears on your Facebook account, report it as a scam by pressing the three buttons in the top right corner of the post.
Royal Vegas is our editorial pick for safe Canadian gaming. Currently offering a good range of Canadian deposit options, everything from prepaid gift cards, to eCheck, instadebit and visa/mastercard. That, and a world-class gaming experience, with countless table games, strong variety, and even live dealers. The brand has been in the business for a decade long.