Book exchange ripoff is back
Another day, another scam doing the rounds on Facebook – although this time, this one is being recycled.
A viral Facebook hoax tricked people into thinking their account was hacked at the weekend.
Now, a new round of a so-called international children’s book exchange has been observed being shared on the social media giant.
It’s not just Kiwis being caught up. People around the world are sharing the chain-letter-style scam.
The message, in most cases, reads like this: ‘‘I’m looking for people to participate in an international children’s book exchange.
‘‘You can be anywhere in the world. All you have to do is buy your favourite children’s book and send it to a stranger. You will receive roughly 36 books back to keep, they will be favourite books from strangers around the world. If you would like to take part let me know and I will send you the details.’’
Netsafe said it hadn’t received reports about the scam recently.
However, it said: ‘‘This type of post appears to have features of both pyramid schemes and chain letters, but it is unclear from just viewing this post if it actually is either of them ...
‘‘Posts like these can spread easily on social media, as social media platforms are designed to easily be able to share ideas with others. Netsafe would advise that people always exercise caution when sending money or exchanging items online with people they do not personally know.’’
Here’s how it works
It asks parents to buy a book and send it to the person in the number one spot on a list.
They are then told to remove that person’s name, bump up the person in the second spot to number one and add the name and address of their child in second place.
They then must send the list to six ‘‘mums, mums-to-be and grandmothers’’ to do the same.
Those six people then send it to another six, and so on. Participants are promised they will eventually end up with 36 books.
It is an example of a standard chain letter, this time in Facebook format. The problem with these schemes is that unless you are at the very top of the pyramid, the chance of getting anything in return for the book you send are tiny.
Why you won’t benefit
The Commerce Commission puts chain letters such as this into the same category as illegal pyramid schemes, which only benefit the people who start them.
The only way they work is by recruiting more and more people and generally the schemes cannot deliver on their promises because there are not enough people willing to participate.
If a scheme requires 10 people to recruit another 10, and so on, there would need to be a million people involved by the time it got to just the sixth level of recruiting.
The scam is a chain letter asking people to send books to children around the world.