DENVER — While there may be only five winners for Colorado's million-dollar Comeback Cash vaccine lottery, scammers will have you believing you've won the drawings, too, by pretending to be the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, stealing personal information and potentially money.
Denver resident Erik Clarke says he received one of these scam calls on Saturday morning.
"'Congratulations, you won a million dollars with the Colorado Comeback Cash program,'" he recalled the caller saying.
The caller, whom Clarke described as having a thick accent, began asking him for personal information.
"'What's your date of birth,'" he said the caller asked.
Immediately, he knew he hadn't really won $1 million.
"It's a pretty telltale sign when anybody over the phone, especially who called you in the first place, asks for personal identifying information," Clarke said.
He thanks his background as an internal auditor for being privy to these types of scams, but he knows, unfortunately, some will fall victim to them.
"Your average resident of Colorado, especially those who are targeted, are not always fully aware of these potential scams," Clarke said.
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser says his office has already received reports about this scam.
"We heard about this happening in Ohio, which had one of these programs, so we knew it was coming to Colorado, too," Weiser said. "They're going to tell you you've won the lottery. 'Just give me your bank account number so we can wire you the money or give me a credit card because we need to process a payment to give you the money.'"
CDPHE, charged with notifying winners, says it will never ask you for personal information, like date of birth or Social Security number, over phone or email.
Any true winners will be asked to stop by in person to confirm this information and sign some papers.
"Anything where you're getting asked for your personal information, your financial information, do not do it. It's a scam," Weiser said.
Denver7 tried calling the phone number Clarke received the scam call from, but an automated message said, "Your call cannot be completed as dialed. Please check the number and dial again."
This call may not have been legitimate, but if the odds are in Clarke's favor, perhaps the next one will be. If he does win, he plans to use some of the money to pay off his student loans.
"Like many millennials out there," he said.
If you get a call similar to this one, report it to Stop Fraud Colorado.
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