Vaccine lotteries have cropped up in states across the country, including in Louisiana. And while the Pelican State awaits its first drawing July 14, some shady activity has spurred action from up top.
Officials in Louisiana are warning people to not give out their personal information over the phone amid a rise in scam callers claiming affiliation with the state’s “Shot at a Million” vaccine lottery.
These scammers usually offer to help register targets for the state’s COVID-19 vaccine lottery.
Sherriff’s office fielding complaint calls about spoofing scam
People have been calling the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office to complain about receiving calls related to this scam, which uses a technique known as “spoofing.”
Spoofing is an illegal practice whereby a scammer alters their phone number to make it look like they’re calling from any legitimate business number they choose.
In this case, detectives discovered through a call recipient that the phone number used was in fact registered to a company with no ties to the “Shot at a Million” lottery.
Scammers often ask for personal information. Officials, though, advise call recipients to not share such info with anyone outside of trusted sources and family members. A sheriff’s office spokesperson noted that the public should even withhold COVID vaccine card information.
“If it sounds too good to be true,” the spokesperson said, “it probably is.”
If you think you have fallen victim to this or any other scam, report it to the local sheriff’s office. Those in St. Charles Parish can contact the sheriff’s office at 985-783-6807.
Louisiana takes a shot at increasing vaccinations
To combat its lagging vaccination rate, Louisiana in June launched its “Shot at a Million” lottery, also known as the “Louisiana COVID lottery.” The number of vaccinated Louisianans ages 65 and up is 10% lower than the national average. And while the national average for eligible individuals who have received the vaccination is 46%, Louisiana comes in at only 34%.
Gov. John Bel Edwards noted at the program’s launch that he had been impressed by the results other states have had with similar vaccine incentive programs. A number of states have implemented these lotteries, including California, Maryland, New York and Ohio.
As the lottery’s name implies, “Shot at a Million” boasts a top prize of $1 million. The lottery will give away a total of $2.3 million in cash prizes and scholarships.
Anyone receiving one vaccination shot by July 31, 2021, is eligible. Drawings will occur weekly from July 9 until Aug. 6, when the grand prize drawing happens.