SCAM ALERT: Fake tobacco settlement payouts

Almost 20 years ago, five of the largest tobacco companies agreed to a Master Settlement Agreement with state and local governments.

The agreement requires tobacco companies to make annual payments to compensate for taxpayer money spent on tobacco-related diseases, and to help fund anti-smoking campaigns.

The agreement pumps out billions of dollars annually, and now, scammers are trying to trick consumers into believing they can receive some of that settlement money.

Consumers will be told that they can receive tax-free payments of $2,300 a month from tobacco revenue bonds.

In order to learn how you can get this money, consumers have to purchase a subscription newsletter, which can cost up to $129 for just the first month.

To sign up for the newsletter, consumers will need to give out their credit card information online.

Unfortunately, the newsletter never comes, or the monthly payments, and consumers are reporting that it is very difficult to cancel their subscription or get a refund.

Before signing up for anything online, consumers are warned to research. Under the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, there is nothing that says a portion of the money will to go to individuals.

If you come across this scam, you can report it to Attorney General Josh Stein’s Consumer Protection Division online or by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.