Washington AG warns consumers of deceptive tobacco settlement ads

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The scam collects consumers' personal information and signs them up for a costly subscription service

If you recently received news that you’re eligible for tax-free payments stemming from a tobacco settlement, then Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has a message for you: it’s a scam.

The Washington Attorney General’s Office is warning consumers not to fall for a ploy connected to Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, which was signed back in 1998. Under that settlement, four of the largest U.S. tobacco companies were required to pay back states for tobacco-related health care costs they incurred.

Although the original agreement did not allow consumers to be eligible for cash payments through the settlement, scammers are using it to lure in unsuspecting victims. Consumers have reported online advertisements saying that they can receive guaranteed tax-free payments of $2,300 every month for the rest of their lives under the settlement, which is patently false.

What the scammers really want is for their victims to sign up for a subscription service that allegedly allows them to receive the fake payments. Ferguson warns that the scammers ask for personal information and a credit card number, and that the subscription can cost anywhere from $79 to $129.

“The Attorney General warns consumers that once they provide a credit card number, it may be difficult to cancel and obtain a refund,” the Attorney General’s Office said.

Consumers who have received any of these advertisements are urged to file a complaint here.

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