According to the Attorney General's Office (AGO), the Lottery has received several reports now of scammers calling Washingtonians and posing as representatives for Washington's "Shot of a Lifetime" lottery as a big win.
The Shot of a Lifetime lottery offers cash prizes up to $1 million, plus dozens of other rewards like sports tickets, Nintendo and Xbox consoles, and tuition credits to vaccinated Washingtonians. Unfortunately, scammers have jumped at the opportunity as well.
If you are selected as a lottery winner, the state will try to contact that winner over the phone, but may also use emails or text messages if the winner can't be reached by phone first. The AGO says the Lottery officials have been instructed to clearly identify themselves, leave detailed messages with clear instructions about the lottery and how to be validated as a lottery winner.
Lottery officials will also ask winners to confirm contact information, including their home address and email. They will not, however, ask for a Social Security number, mother's maiden name, or bank account information — surefire signs that the caller is a scammer.
Other signs the caller might be a scammer include:
- If the call has come from an out-of-state number. Lottery calls will come from state-owned phones with either 253 or 564 area codes.
- The caller cannot answer detailed questions about the Lottery.
- The caller is rude and pushy and demands personal information.
- The caller claims to need a Social Security number as a condition to win the prize.
- The caller says there is a fee to claim the prize.
Emails about the lottery will also always come from email addresses ending in "@doh.wa.gov", the AGO says. Scam emails may also ask the recipient to click on a link or open an attachment, which can infect a computer with malware. A legitimate email will not require any further action over the computer.
The AGO says that, if you're on the fence and unsure if the call or email you got is legitimate, it's better to be safe than sorry. Anyone with questions about the Lottery or any suspicious texts, emails or calls they've received can contact the Washington Lottery directly by calling 360-810-2888.