ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WDVM) — The new Maryland vaccine lottery system started daily drawings on Tuesday, and the first winner has officially been chosen: a lucky person in Baltimore County won the first $40,000.
40 more drawings will be held, with the last one being a grand prize of $400,000 on July 4. While there aren’t statistics on how big of an impact this promotion has had on vaccination rates just yet, Maryland lottery officials said they’re seeing lots of excitement.
“I can only speak anecdotally,” said Carole Gentry, managing director of communications for Maryland Lottery and Gaming. “There’s so much buzz going on about this. Our phones haven’t stopped ringing, we get endless email, we read about it everywhere. It’s wonderful, it’s a great promotion.”
Anyone who hopes to be chosen should keep an eye on their phone and their inbox, but you do have a little time to respond if your name gets picked.
“I’ll tell you what, if I got a call like that I’d respond immediately!” said Gentry. “But, we give them a week. You know, things happen … The Maryland Department of Health will try and reach them and do their best to get a hold of them.” Alternate names are also chosen in the event that a person cannot be reached or refuses the lottery prize.
To learn more about the process of claiming a lottery prize, visit the Maryland Lottery site.
Many have also wondered about possible phishing during the 6-week lottery event — when it comes to promotions like this, scammers will often try to take advantage. So the Maryland Lottery is warning people about what they should look out for — not only to avoid getting scammed but also to avoid missing out on a payday because of paranoia.
“If it’s a legitimate call, they will never ask you for your social security number, they won’t ask you to send money. They will only ask you to agree to consent via this authorization form — to agree to share your contact information with the Maryland Lottery,” said Gentry. The director of communications also said that on many phones, the caller ID will read “Maryland Department of Health”, which acts as an easy way to verify.
To see a full list of ways to tell the difference between scams and legitimate calls, visit here.