November 27, 2017

Wine Exchange Scam Beware

Wine Exchange Scam Beware - TBWS

The Christmas Wine Exchange – it's like the "Tickle me Elmo" craze for grown-ups. You may have seen it on Facebook (or other social media) – it might even be floating around in one of your closed groups. But is it a fun new tradition to add to your Holiday Bucket List, or something more "Ho, Ho, NO"?

There are two types of Wine Exchanges, and while one can be a good time with friends, the other seems like its too good to be true. If you like getting lots of things for almost nothing, the Internet Christmas Wine Exchange looks like it's right up your alley.

Before you sign up – think twice. It's not a fun gift swap, it's actually based on the old-fashioned chain letter, and it's not legal. It works by someone on your "friends" list creating a post saying "Send me a bottle of wine, and then tag 6 of your friends who also love wine! You'll get 6-36 bottles of wine sent to you in return!" Unfortunately, identity thieves are using chains like these to gain valuable access to your online persona, as well as your home address and other personal information.

Not only are you opening yourself up to identity theft and possible fraudulent use of your home address, there are also restrictions on mailing liquids and alcohol across state or county lines. The restrictions vary depending on your municipality and the wine's destination. In addition to that, sending gifts in this manner, no matter what they are, is a violation of U.S. Postal code – it's considered a "pyramid scheme," and it's illegal, with penalties worse than landing on Santa's Naughty List.

This year, instead of getting gifts from your internet friends, consider a more traditional "wine swap," with friends you know, in person. With all the holiday hustle and bustle, it's nice to take the time to spend with the ones you care about.