ST. LOUIS — Half a million Missourians signed up for the Missouri Vaccine Incentive Program, also known as MOVIP. One of those people reached out to 5 On Your Side when he got an email that said he won. What he heard after getting that email made him suspicious, so he asked the VERIFY team.
The viewer received an email with the MOVIP logo and a big, bold "Congratulations." It said he won a cash prize, but added that he wouldn't be announced on the state website until he sent some personal information.
The email asked him for a photo of a government-issued ID, his vaccine card and tax information like his Social Security number.
The bottom of the email says, "Want to confirm this is legitimate? Please visit MOStopsCovid.com/win, where you entered the sweepstakes originally, and call the number at the bottom of the page. If you provide your last name and confirmation number (listed above), our Call Center can verify that you are a Preliminary Winner."
The viewer did that and got disappointing news from the hotline. The person he talked to said he wasn't on the winners' list.
So is the email legit, or a scam?
The VERIFY team talked with Lisa Cox, the spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. She confirmed the email is real, and the viewer was really a winner.
The state says that the initial answer that the viewer got, that he had not won, was a misunderstanding. At the time, operators didn't have an updated list of the winners. The state told the viewer they hope to prevent that problem in the future.
Cox said that as of now, the state isn't aware of any scams tricking people into thinking they've won a MOVIP prize.
We can VERIFY, winners do receive an email from a health.mo.gov email address asking for some personal information to prove that they qualify for the prize and send the money to the right place. It's among the steps outlined on the MOStopsCovid.com Frequently Asked Questions.
If you get an email claiming you are a MOVIP winner, the best move is always to double-check before you give out any personal information. The verified state hotline number to call and confirm is 1-877-435-8411.
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