Online Cigarette Scam

Who wouldn’t want to save a buck on a high-priced item? It’s not a savings if it’s a scam, or if it lands you in trouble with the law. 

Who Is It Targeting: Cigarette users 

What Is It:  Online scam that claims to offer deals from international sellers

What Are They After: In the internet age, it’s very common to buy goods directly from vendors. Sometimes, those vendors are even in other countries. But when you’re attempting to buy something from an international source that skirts the US laws, then you could be in trouble. 

More importantly, you have absolutely no recourse if this is a scam, as individuals who attempted to buy cigarettes from foreign vendors learned the hard way. By claiming they couldn’t conduct the transaction via credit, but rather through wire transfers or prepaid gift cards, scammers came away with the money and the victims never received their items. 

How Can You Avoid It:

  • Never attempt to purchase a taxable, controlled item via a foreign connection.
  • Never pay via wire transfer or prepaid gift card if you’re told those are the only accepted forms of payment.
  • Credit cards and money transfer sites like PayPal are internationally accepted, and therefore there’s no reason they aren’t allowed for an honest transaction. 

Find more information about current scams and alerts here. For full details of this scam check out this article from BBB.org.


If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530.

Read next: Employment Scam Targeting New Graduates

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