The State of Montana has joined with all the other 49 states, the District of Columbia and the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on four sham cancer charities.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox said nationwide, generous contributors have been bilked out of more that $187 million.

"We've targeted the Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, Inc. ,The Children's Cancer Fund and the Breast Cancer  Society and the individuals who operated those organizations," Fox said. "What we learned was that very little of the approximately $187 million that were donated by hard working Americans from 2008 to 2012 actually was put to use to help cancer victims."

Fox said settlements have already been reached with some of the sham organizations.

"Th unfortunate thing is, we're never going to recover the total amount of money that was donated to those organizations," he said. "But, the good news is, we have stopped their activities, and through this settlement, the individuals responsible for these actions are prohibited for the rest of their lives from being involved in charitable organizations."

Fox said one organization is still under investigation.

"That organization is called the Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, and an individual named James Reynolds, Sr.," Fox said. "The lesson learned here is that Montanans must do their homework before donating to any charity. It's best if they are already familiar with the organization, such as the American Cancer Society, The Komen Foundation and the American Lung Association."

One tactic used by these sham cancer charities is to pressure the victim into donating on the phone using a credit or debit card, which gives the perpetrator access to account numbers.

Anyone who believes that may have been scammed by one or more of these organizations can contact the Montana Attorney General's Office of Consumer Protection.