WV A.G. warns of 'Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement' scam

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. - West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is warning people about an online promotion that misleads consumers to believe they can receive tobacco settlement money.

The online promotion claims individuals can sign up for the "Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement." Despite the promotion’s assertion, there is no mechanism for payments to consumers. Payments are made each year to the states and territories involved in the lawsuit.

“Everyone likes the idea of obtaining extra money,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “It’s very important to ensure that promotions seeking or promising money are legitimate.”

The promotion misleads the consumer by talking about bond purchases backed by settlement money, rather than guidance on how to receive actual settlement dollars.

The end goal involves a pitch for consumers to buy a subscription to a monthly report in order to learn more. Subscribers are charged approximately $5 for the first month and $100 for a one-year subscription. It is difficult to cancel once an individual provides their credit card information.

The Master Settlement Agreement involves a settlement reached between the nation’s four largest tobacco companies and attorneys general from 46 states and territories. There is no provision for payments to individuals.

Anyone with questions should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit the office online at www.WVAGO.gov.

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