Washington state warns of scams ahead of next round of vaccine lottery drawings

Tuesday marks the second chance for Washingtonians vaccinated against COVID-19 to win "Shot of a Lifetime" prizes from the state, but officials are also warning about potential scams.

Winners will be drawn each Tuesday through July 13 and contacted by the following day. Anyone who is over 18 years old, a Washington resident and has received at least one COVID vaccine shot locally is eligible for hundreds of prizes, including a quarter of a million dollars.

The Washington State Lottery has received reports of some callers using the vaccine lottery program to try to scam people.

To avoid any fraud, they say you can go through a verification process with the person who contacts you, to ensure they really are an official employee with the lottery.  If you win, a lottery official will make a brief introduction of where they are calling from. They will verify that you are a resident of WA state, your email, address and phone number. They will not ask personal questions beyond that. They will then give you instructions on how to specifically claim your prize.

"When calling, if the drawing winner does not pick up, the Lottery official will clearly identify themselves, leave a detailed message with clear information about the nature of the call and will include information about a date and time by which they must receive a call-back in order to validate them as a winner.

"Lottery officials will ask to confirm contact information, including home address and email, so they can send an official prize claim form to the winner. However, they will never request personal information like a Social Security number, mother’s maiden name or bank account information over the phone."

RELATED: 'Icing on the cake:' One Washingtonian is $250k richer for getting the COVID vaccine

There will be 251 prizes drawn on June 15, including a $250,000 cash prize winner. There will also be fifteen winners between ages 12-17, who will each win 100 Washington Guaranteed Education Credits (GET). That's equal to one year of resident, undergraduate tuition and state-mandated fees at Washington's public universities.

Winners have 72 hours from their initial contact to claim their prize.

All non-cash prizes that aren't claimed during the first four drawings will be given away during the last drawing on July 13. For the cash prizes and GET Tuition units, alternates will be drawn and awarded each week.

If you are unsure if a call you receive is legitimate, you may contact the Washington Lottery directly at 360-810-2888.

If you think you have been scammed, you can file a complaint with the Attorney General's Office at 1-800-551-463 or online.

The Washington State Attorney General's Office gave these tips about avoiding potential scams:

  • 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.

Department of Health officials say if you’ve been vaccinated in Washington your info will be in their system, and you’ll be eligible for the lotto. You can check if you’re in the state database by signing up for MyIRmobile.com

However, lottery officials say they’ve heard there have been some issues with the website due to the massive volume of people on it. If you’ve been vaccinated but your information does not show up, officials say call 1-833-VAX-HELP.


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