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Beware of the wine bottle exchange scam going viral on Facebook

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Posted at 9:27 PM, Dec 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-09 23:27:37-05

DENVER -- First, it was the Secret Sister Gift Exchange. Now, a scam with a holiday spin is going viral on Facebook and authorities are cautioning anyone not to participate. 

It works something like this: A friend will tag you in the post, which asks participants to buy one bottle of wine and in return, you will get anywhere from 6 to 36 more.

The problem? It's illegal and could land you in federal prison. 

"Any letter, package, postal card, or circular concerning any lottery, gift enterprise, or similar scheme offering prizes dependent in whole or in part upon lot or chance" could lead to a conviction of up to two years in federal prison," according to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service's gambling and pyramid scheme laws.

The stress that comes with the holidays might tempt you to participate -- after all, getting 36 bottles of wine sounds like a dream. But why risk it?

The Better Business Bureau has some tips if you are tagged in one of these gift exchange posts. 

This isn't the first time officials have warned about the illegality of the social media gift exchange posts. Last month, several police departments across the country cautioned residents not to participate in the Secret Sister Gift Exchange.  

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