Most Arkansans believe the Secret Santa or Secret Sister exchanges seen all over social media are a fun way to interact with friends, but participating in these can often lead to identity theft or more, according to a news release from Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.
Each year, scammers emerged in posting a request for other users to send a gift valued at approximately $10, in exchange for other gifts. But the scam convinces the user to disclose their name and address on social media, making it easier for criminals to obtain personal information, according to the release.
“Scammers are clever and the Secret Santa and Secret Sister exchanges are no different,” Rutledge said. “These posts often start with the scammer and are reposted over and over by unknowing friends. But those who actually send gifts to the scammer are the ones who put their identity at risk by disclosing their personal information.”
Rutledge released the following tips for consumers to avoid this holiday scam:
• Consumers should never disclose their personal information to an unknown entity unless they know it is a trusted source as such disclosures could result in identity theft or the opening of other accounts in their names. It is unlikely that a consumer will actually receive gifts in response to such a scheme; thus, if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
• Review guidance available from the U.S. Postal Service because it may be illegal;
• Consumers should safeguard their banking and personal, financial information in order to prevent financial losses 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.
Details: Arkansas Attorney General’s office, 800-482-8982 or consumer@ArkansasAG.gov or ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.