How to tell if the COVID-19 trial you want to sign up for is legitimate

Posted at 7:00 AM, Nov 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 08:00:16-05

Pfizer's big vaccine news this week doesn't mean other COVID-19 clinical trials will stop. These COVID-19 studies often pay participants anywhere from $1,000 to $2500. Some might even need some volunteers to sign up.

While many of these studies are legitimate, others aren't. The Federal Trade Commission reports con-artists are posing as researchers and creating fake websites or emails, hoping you sign up so they can steal your identity or money.

Here are four red flags to watch for:

1.) If they ask you to pay

If anyone involved with the COVID-19 clinical trial asks you to pay to participate in the study, it's likely fake. The FTC says real clinics will never ask you for money.

2.) If a researcher asks you for your SS number during the screening process

That's a sign of a scheme. The FTC says it's okay to give your name, age, contact information, or to share if you have any pre-existing conditions. But the information you give should stop there.

3.) If the study requests your bank account information

That's a red flag. Experts say if you want to participate in a clinical study, you should ask to be paid by check rather than direct deposit.

4.) If you can't find the study listed in

If you can't find the trial you're interested in listed in this database, be cautious. This is a resource from the U.S. National Library of Medicine. If you can't find contact information for those doing the study, you should question whether it's real.

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