Arkansas attorney general issues warning about Secret Santa scam


LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- A fun holiday exchange is being twisted into a money-making scam for some in Arkansas.

Secret Santa and Secret Sister scams have been popping up on social media; trying to gain personal information and spreading heartache during the holidays.

The scam works by requesting that you send online “friends” relatively inexpensive gifts, gift cards or money to those on an email or social media chain, with the promise that you, too, will receive gifts in the exchange. At the very least, participants will spend money and send gifts without getting anything in return. At worst, scammers will use personal information posted on social media, often leading to identity theft.

“It may seem harmless to participate in an online gift exchange, but always remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “There are scammers online looking to take advantage of Arkansans’ good nature and consumers should carefully protect their wallet and personal information.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for consumers to avoid the Secret Santa and Secret Sister scam:

  • Consumers should never disclose their personal information to an unknown person online because it could result in identity theft or the opening of other accounts in their name.
  • It is unlikely that a consumer will receive any gifts in response to such a scheme; if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • Consult the terms of use for Facebook and other social media platforms as they may prohibit such schemes – report these scams to the social media platform.
  • Review guidance available from the U.S. Postal Service because it may be illegal to send the requested gift cards.
  • Consumers should safeguard their banking and financial information to prevent theft 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.

For more information about consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at or visit


Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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