A company is using official-looking mail to trick South Dakota consumers into thinking a long term care insurance offer is endorsed by the state, a state regulator says.

To generate leads for LTC insurance agents, the company is sending South Dakota residents invitations that encourage the recipients to ask for more information about the South Dakota LTC insurance Partnership program, according to the South Dakota Division of Insurance.

The requests go to a company with an address in Salt Lake City.

The cards illegally use the official state seal and create the appearance that the lead program is endorsed by the state, the division says.

Use of leads generated by the cards could subject an agent to penalties, says Merle Scheiber, the division’s director.

South Dakota has sent mailings promoting its Partnership program, but it does not turn the names of the consumers who respond over to insurance agents, officials say.

A copy of the bulletin about South Dakota lead card rules, Bulletin 2009-02, is available here.