Politics & Government

‘This is a scam’: AG warns of fake tobacco settlement solicitation

Recent promises to Washington state residents that they can receive their share of tobacco setttlement money are a fraud, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
Recent promises to Washington state residents that they can receive their share of tobacco setttlement money are a fraud, according to the Attorney General’s Office. Staff file

Washington state residents are getting peppered with claims that they can sign up to receive their share of tobacco lawsuit settlement, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.

“This is a scam,” Tuesday’s news release bluntly reads.

The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, which was reached in November 1998, was between the four largest American tobacco companies and 46 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories.

The minimum of $206 billion in money paid out to the signatories is not distributed to individuals, but instead to the governments to help cover the health care costs of smokers and chewers.

“The online advertisements say that consumers can receive “guaranteed” tax-free payments of $2,300 every month — forever,” the release states. “The catch is that, in order to learn how to supposedly claim a portion of the tobacco settlement, consumers must purchase a subscription that costs anywhere from $79 to $129.”

The scammers ask for a credit card number, the release states, which can make it difficult for people to get refunds.

Anyone who has received the advertisements may file complaints at atg.wa.gov/file-complaint.

Kenny Ocker: 253-597-8627, @KennyOcker

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