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Scammers using Vax-a-Million ‘offers’ to get personal information

Lottery is free to vaccinated, doesn’t require SS number

COLUMBUS — Whenever there is a new program, there is a new scam that will use the name of it to try to get people’s personal information to be used for bad purposes.

And so it is with the launch of Ohio’s Vax-a-Million campaign and millions of people signing up for it, the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Lottery are starting to get reports of scam artists using the Vax-a-Million name and logo in attempt to get people’s money, whether it is a credit card or a bank account number.

The agencies offered the following tips to avoid the scammers.

• There are only two ways to enter Ohio Vax-a-Million: online at ohiovaxamillion.com, and by phone at 1-833- 4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634). Do not follow suspicious URLs or call other phone numbers to enter.

• Do not provide social security numbers or other private information. The ohiovaxamillion.com registration asks for basic contact information (name, email address, phone number), date of birth and where you received your vaccination. It does not ask for your Social Security number, credit card information or banking information.

• You will hear about the drawing in many ways –by email, coverage in the news media, in text messages to Ohio Lottery text message subscribers (from number 91011), and messages from local health departments or business organizations. In addition to these legitimate sources of information, you could receive outreach from scammers.

Some signs that the message you have received might be suspicious are:

• Misspelled words.
• Incorrect grammar.
• References to a “sweepstakes.”
• The “from” email address looks suspicious.
• The URL listed is not ohiovaxamillion.com, or when you hover over the URL with your mouse, a different URL appears.
• The phone number listed is not 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).
• Do not reply to an email, text message, or social media direct message with your personal information. only share your entry information at ohiovaxamillion.com or by phone at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).
• It is free to enter the Ohio Vax-a-Million drawings. You will not be asked to provide credit card or bank account information to enter the drawings.
• If a source looks suspicious, open a new browser tab and type the URL manually: ohiovaxamillion.com. If you ever have a question about an email, text message, social media message, or phone call, contact the Ohio Department of Health’s Call Center at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).

Ohio Vax-a-Million is a public outreach campaign and initiative to increase awareness of the availability and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and provide incentives to Ohioans to get a COVID-19 vaccination.

Ohioans 18 and older who have received a received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can enter to win one of five $1 million prizes.

Ohioans ages 12-17 who have received a received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can enter to win one of five four year, full-ride scholarships, including room and board, tuition, and books, to any Ohio state college or university.

More information is available at ohiovaxamillion.com.