Consumer Alert

Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) Deceptive Advertising Scam

The Consumer Protection Unit of the Alaska Attorney General’s Office warns Alaskans of the existence of an online promotion that misleads consumers into believing they are eligible to receive tobacco settlement monies.

The advertisements promote claims that individuals can sign up to receive thousands of dollars per month from the MSA. The advertisement, which promises a tax-free portion of the MSA, misleads consumers into believing they are eligible for guaranteed money backed by the government. The reality is that at the end of the promotion the consumer is prompted to purchase a monthly subscription in order to learn more about how to receive these funds. These funds are in effect generated by purchasing tobacco related bonds. Consumers are warned that once the subscription is paid for by a credit card, it may be difficult to cancel the subscription and receive a refund.

In 1998, the MSA was signed by the four largest U.S. tobacco companies, 46 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia. The settlement resolved several lawsuits against the tobacco industry for tobacco-related health care costs. Despite the online promotion’s assertions, there is no mechanism or fund for private citizens to apply to the state of Alaska to receive MSA payments.

If there are any questions, please contact the Consumer Protection Unit Staff at (907) 269-5208 or contact Cynthia.franklin@alaska.gov.

Consumer Protection Unit
June 2017