Book Gift Exchange on Facebook May be a Scam

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A couple of days ago, I got invited to join a “cause” to gift 1 book to a kid on my list and eventually receive 36 new books that I can give to my son. The cause is quite noble albeit shady in many respects. (I’ll get in to the “shady” part later.) Heck – even my wife got into it, and even posted it on her Facebook wall.

Here are the instructions that was sent to me by my friend. My wife later confirmed that she received the same thing.

[su_spoiler title=”Gift 1 Book, Receive 36 for Your Child FOR FREE” open=”yes” style=”fancy”]

Welcome to our book exchange for kids! Here’s how it works:

1) Send out ONE book to child #1 listed below.

2) Remove the child’s name from #1; then move child #2 to that spot.

3) Then add your child’s name to #2 with your info.

4) Then send this info to 6 dad or moms or dad/moms-to-be (or grannies!) with the updated name info

5) Copy the book exchange request. (You can also post this on your wall)

**If you cannot complete this within 1 week please notify me, as it isn’t fair to the children who have participated and are waiting for their own special books to arrive. A manila envelope will work to mail the book. Or, you might want to order directly from a web-based book service (Amazon, Barnes & Noble), which saves a trip to the post office.

Soon, your child should receive 36 books! What a deal! 36 books for giving just one!

Be sure to include your child’s name and address (age/sex if necessary), parent’s name and contact information for delivery/shipping purposes. Seldom does anyone drop out because you know children love to read and have books read to them.

Your child should begin receiving books in about 2 weeks if you get your letters out to your 6 people right away. Thanks!

1. Name of Child Recipient + Details

  • Child: <name of minor>
  • Parent’s Name: <name of parent>
  • Shipping Address: <address>
  • Contact Information: <phone number>

2. Name of my child + Details

  • Child: <name of my child>
  • Parent’s Name: <my name>
  • Shipping Address: <our address>
  • Contact Information: <my phone number>

P.S. Don’t forget: move my kid up to #1 and put yours at #2 and send to anyone interested in doing this!!! Thanks a bunch!!!


Here come the shady parts…

  • I am asked to send 1 book to someone I actually don’t know. My knowledge of that kid’s address is quite alarming, and if I were a child predator, this situation would have been an opportunity for me to prey on someone. This is theoretical, but the possibility isn’t very remote.

Credits: GIF on Facebook

[su_heading size=”19″]You are not supposed to see that kid’s address in the first place.[/su_heading]

  • Notice that chain-letter-statement “Then send this info to 6 dad or moms or dad/moms-to-be (or grannies!) with the updated name info”? This is something that we all have to take look deeper before succumbing to any “deals” or “transactions”. The supposed task of telling more people about it, and divulging your own information to them (and eventually to more people) should be dealt with extreme caution. The latter is considered a ‘red flag’, especially when there is sensitive information involved.
dragon mqeCDZ

Credits: GIF on Facebook

[su_heading size=”19″]What if this were ISIS’ part of recruitment strategy?[/su_heading]

  • Apparently, there is a Book Exchange Request spiel (Refer to #5) that’s required to be done to – again – let more people know. Those who will reply and like the “request” are considered “engaged users” to the post. In the realm of social media, engaged users have a lot of weight in KPIs, and considered as a determining factor to the realization of a specific campaign.If I were to consider this as campaign to fuel my malicious intentions, those who liked and commented (in gratiam) are my potential victims.

Credits: GIF on Facebook

[su_heading size=”19″]Think before you click.[/su_heading]

  • Options. Options. Options. There are several options for you to proceed. You can send it via mail using a manila envelop, or order it directly to Amazon or Barnes and Noble and have the books sent to someone’s kid. I can really see how cool and noble this campaign is, but is there a way we can proceed without going through such painstaking and risky process of sending a book? How about organizing an offline book-gifting campaign instead? Yeah, that might a lot difficult to mount, but probably a lot safer.

Credits: GIF on Facebook

[su_heading size=”19″]I could be wrong, but I hope I’m making sense here. [/su_heading]

  • “36 books for giving just one!” really sounds like a great deal but what will happen if people suddenly stop doing this? According to, this supposed gifting-scam has been happening since October. There’s one catch though – the original “campaign” doesn’t involve books but gifts worth $10 each. It has a very cool and catchy name too – Secret Sister Gift Exchange.

    In the article posted by Yahoo, University of South Florida mass communications instructor, Kelli Burns told WFLA-TV (an NBC company), “We’re just seeing this on Facebook this time instead of the old way of using letters.” She said that since this is against Facebook’s Terms and Conditions, people who have posted this on their Facebook page could result to losing their Facebook account. Well, we don’t want to happen, right?


Credits: GIF on Facebook

[su_heading size=”19″]Support this, and you might lose your Facebook account.[/su_heading]

What do you think about the above insights, guys? Did you receive or see anything similar on your Facebook Wall?

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Giancarlo Viterbo is a Filipino Technology Journalist, blogger and Editor of, He is also a Geek, Dad and a Husband. He knows a lot about washing the dishes, doing some errands and following instructions from his boss on his day job. Follow him on twitter: @gianviterbo and @gadgetpilipinas.

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