COVID-19 Clinical Trial Scams

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Manufacturers conduct numerous clinical trials to test the effectiveness of vaccines and treatments for the coronavirus. However, criminals also take advantage of these developments.  They try to dupe people into providing their personally identifiable information (PII) or sending them money, in the guise of enrolling the victims in a clinical trial. Therefore, if you or a loved one are thinking about enrolling in a COVID-19 clinical trial, you have to be careful to ensure that you do not fall for a scam.

Beware of Fraudulent Clinical Scams

Criminals send unsolicited messages through email text, or social media.  Often, they offer recipients a chance to join a COVID-19 clinical trial with a payment of at least $1,000. The message also comes with a link where you can verify your eligibility for the trial.

Clicking on the link could download malware into your device. This would give the criminal access to your device and the information stored there.

In some cases, the link will lead you to a legitimate-looking website which asks for your information.

You should be wary of any unsolicited communication that offers you to join a clinical trial. This is especially so if you have not been actively looking for it. If you are indeed interested in a COVID-19 clinical trial, you should visit clinicaltrials.gov to search for available clinical trials. You can also check the validity of clinical trials on the same website.

Keeping Yourself Safe

If we have learned anything since the start of the pandemic, it is that criminals will always find ways to benefit, even amid a global crisis. Therefore, it is crucial to protect yourself by learning some of the things to avoid or know if you are thinking of participating in a COVID-19 clinical trial. Some common things to remember include:

  • You should never pay to be part of, or to learn about, a clinical trial. Legitimate clinical trials are transparent and do not ask for money from the participants.
  • Do your research before joining a clinical trial.
  • Although a legitimate clinical trial will ask for certain information about you, it will never ask for your social security number during recruitment or screening. Some of the information they might ask for includes your name, age, gender, race, contact information, ethnicity, and preexisting conditions that predispose you to higher mortality from COVID-19.
  • You should never share your financial information, such as your bank account or credit card information.

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