Lottery officials will never ask for bank information, Social Security number over the phone
OLYMPIA — The Attorney General’s Office and Washington’s Lottery are urging Washingtonians to be wary of potential scams associated with the state’s “Shot of a Lifetime” lottery for vaccinated Washingtonians.
The program’s drawings will be held on Tuesdays through July 13, and feature $250,000 and $1 million cash prizes, sporting event tickets, technology and tuition credits, among other incentives. Vaccinated individuals who are in the state’s Immunization Information System are automatically entered into the drawings.
The primary method the Lottery will use to contact drawing winners is by phone, but representatives with the Lottery will never ask for bank account information or Social Security numbers over the phone. The Lottery may also contact some winners by email or, as a final method of outreach, text message. If you are wary of a call, voicemail, email or text that purports to be from the Lottery, contact Washington’s Lottery directly at 360-810-2888 to verify that they are a Lottery representative.
The Lottery has received some reports of callers attempting to use the program to scam Washingtonians.
How will “Shot of a Lifetime” winners be contacted?
The Lottery will primarily contact drawing winners by phone, but will use whatever contact information is listed in the state’s Immunization Information System, which may include email. The Lottery may also use text messages as a final method of contact. 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.
Winners will have 72 hours from their initial contact to claim a prize, allowing time for Washingtonians who receive a call, text, email or voicemail to verify that it came from the Lottery.
How to identify potential scams
Washingtonians should always be on alert for signs that a call, email or text might be a scam, and not a legitimate contact from the Lottery. Some things to look out for include:
- 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.
If you are unsure if the call you receive is legitimate, don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t give out any personal information unless you are satisfied the caller is from the Lottery. If people have questions about any call, email or text they receive from someone purporting to be from the Lottery, they can contact the Washington Lottery directly at 360-810-2888.
If you believe you have fallen victim to a scam, or other unfair or deceptive business practice, file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office at atg.wa.gov/file-complaint or by calling 1-800-551-4636.
The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.
Brionna Aho, Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; Brionna.email@example.com
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About Washington’s Lottery: Since 1982, Washington’s Lottery has generated more than $4.5 billion to support important state programs including the Washington Opportunity Pathways Account, which provides grants to help college students statewide achieve their higher education dreams and supports early childhood education learning programs. The state’s Lottery offers consumers several types of games, including Mega Millions, Powerball, Lotto, Hit 5, Match 4, PICK 3, Daily Keno and Scratch. For more information, visit www.walottery.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @walottery.
Dan Miller (Curator on behalf of Washington’s Lottery)