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Tobacco Settlement Scam Warning

An unidentified man smokes a cigarette
(Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

No, you cannot get a piece of a tobacco settlement. No matter what that thing someone saw on a website says.

The South Dakota Attorney General’s off has sent out a warning about a new scam promising people part of a lawsuit settlement. Recently, some deceptive online advertisements has cropped up that mislead people into thinking they can get some money.

The ad are designed to make people believe that they can claim thousands of dollars per month from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement through a special program. the messages misleads consumers into believing they are eligible for guaranteed money backed by the government.

What really happens though is that people are prompted to buy a subscription in order to learn more about how to receive these funds. Once a subscription is paid for by credit card, it may be difficult to cancel.

“The settlement monies obtained through the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement are not available to individuals,” Attorney General Marty Jackley said in a press release. “Do not provide credit card numbers or any personal identifying information to unsolicited emails or advertisements.”

In 1998 the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement was signed by the four largest U.S. tobacco companies (Philip Morris Inc., R. J. Reynolds, Brown & Williamson and Lorillard), 46 states, five territories and the District of Columbia. The settlement resolved several lawsuits against the tobacco industry for tobacco-related health care costs. Part of the settlement requires the four companies to make annual payments to the states in order to compensate for the costs of caring for people with smoking-related illnesses.

Anyone with questions should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-800-300-1986 or email at consumerhelp@state.sd.us.

Source: South Dakota Attorney General’s Office


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