AG’s office: Be wary of scams relating to the state vaccine lottery

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington State Attorney General’s Office is warning people to be wary of possible scams relating to the state’s COVID-19 vaccine lottery program.

The vaccination appreciation prizes are part of the state’s latest efforts to get people vaccinated, in a campaign called “Shot of a Lifetime.” The first drawing happened June 7 with a prize of $250,000.

You are automatically entered in the lottery if you are in the state’s Immunization Information System.

Washington’s Lottery has already received reports of callers trying to use the program as a way to scam people.

The AG’s office says that the lottery will mostly contact winners by phone, but may also use email or text message. Lottery officials will clearly identify themselves and ask to confirm contact information such as your address.

Officials will never request personal information such as a SSN, mother’s maiden name or bank account information.

The AG’s office provided a list of things to look out for that could indicate a potential scam:

  • A call or text purporting to be from the Lottery that comes from an out-of-state number. Calls will come from state-owned phones with either 253 or 564 area codes, both from Western Washington.
  • A caller who can’t or won’t answer detailed questions about the program.
  • A caller who is rude or pushy, and demands personal information right away.
  • A caller who demands your Social Security number or banking information over the phone as a condition to claim your prize.
  • A caller who says you must first pay a fee to claim your prize.
  • Any email prize notification that does not come from “@doh.wa.gov.” Official prize notification emails related to “Shot of a Lifetime” will come from a Washington Department of Health email address ending in “@doh.wa.gov.” Be wary of any email prize notification that comes from a personal email address or one that mimics a state government agency.
  • An email that requires you to click on a link or open an attachment — do not click on links or attachments, they can be malicious.
  • A call, email or text informing you of your COVID Lottery winnings even though you know you have not been immunized.

Get more information here.