Attorney general warns residents about deceptive tobacco settlement promotion
by Robert Joseph Baker | June 17, 2017 12:44 pm
Last Updated: June 16, 2017 at 7:48 pm
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said Thursday that the public should be aware of an online promotion that could mislead them to believe they can receive tobacco settlement money.
The online promotion claims individuals can sign up to claim thousands of dollars per month from the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement.
“The advertisement promises that individuals may receive a tax-free portion of the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement and that this money is guaranteed by the government,” said Wilson in a release. “In reality, this advertisement entices citizens to enter a credit card number for a monthly subscription in order to learn about purchasing tobacco revenue bonds.”
Wilson said that, once consumers provided a credit or debit card number, it could be difficult to cancel the monthly subscription and obtain a refund.
“Despite the online promotion’s assertion, there is no mechanism for individuals to apply to the state for tobacco Master Settlement Agreement payments,” Wilson said.
In 1998, 46 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia signed the Master Settlement Agreement with the four largest tobacco companies in the country to settle multiple state lawsuits brought to recover billions of dollars in health-care costs associated with treating smoking-related illnesses. The central purpose of the Master Settlement Agreement is to reduce smoking, especially in American youth, and to reimburse the States’ health-care costs. There is no fund for private citizens to apply to receive Master Settlement Agreement funds that come to the state each year.
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