Attorney General Headshot
Attorney General Seal

Consumer Alert

Consumer Alert

(Pierre) –Attorney General Mark Barnett wants South Dakota consumers to read the fine print before cashing unsolicited checks issued by companies and financial institutions. Fly-by-night companies are mailing checks to consumers nationwide. These checks are generally accompanied by a letter encouraging the consumer to cash it. 

“Consumers need to understand that by cashing these checks, they are automatically being enrolled in some kind of service which may cost them much more than the value of the check,” commented Barnett.  “By cashing these checks you might be agreeing to a membership in credit monitoring service, a discount service, or even a high interest loan.”

These automatic memberships often are self-renewing. This means the consumer will be re-enrolled in the program monthly or annually without notice or knowledge that the company is charging a fee. The services being provided are usually unnecessary and might even be a detriment to your financial well-being. 

The company is allowed to charge a consumer’s credit card or bank account because the endorsement of the check provides written authorization to do so.

Barnett warns that the checks might be for amounts as small as a few dollars or as large as several thousand dollars.

If you receive an unsolicited check in the mail, please contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s office at 1-800-300-1986 or consumerhelp@state.sd.us.

-30-