You may remember the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement by which the major tobacco companies settled a class action brought against them by the Attorneys General of 46 states in regard to the dangers posed by cigarette smoking and the misrepresentation of those risks by the tobacco companies.  According to the terms of the settlement, the tobacco companies are required to pay the states 10 billion dollars each year.
Now advertisements  like the one reproduced below are appearing that claim that you can receive guaranteed tax-free payments of $2,300 every month for the rest of your life from the settlement funds even if you never smoked.   The catch is that in order to get your share of these funds you must subscribe to an investment newsletter promoted by a company called Money Morning which purports to provide investment advice on how to invest in state or local bonds backed by settlement payments.  The monthly subscription rates cost about 5 dollars for the first month, but then increases to as much as 129 dollars for succeeding months.  In order to subscribe you must provide a credit card number which the company automatically bills and according to the Attorneys General of Washington, California, Nevada and West Virginia  the continuing payments are hard to stop once you have initially authorized payment.  The Attorneys General from the aforementioned states are warning the public that the advertising is a misleading scam.
Big Tobacco Must pay
The biggest problem with this advertisement is that the payments made by the major tobacco companies are done exclusively to the states.  There is no provision in the settlement for any individuals to receive payments from the settlement funds.  While some states have issued bonds backed by the settlement payments, these bonds have nothing to do with the misleading advertising.  Don’t fall for this scam, however, if you already have, you should contact your state Attorney General for help.