Better Business Bureau Warns of New Coronavirus Scam
The coronavirus scams keep coming. The Better Business Bureau is warning of the latest COVID-19 scam.
Hackers are sending out emails and text messages for fake coronavirus vaccine trials. "Don’t be tempted by the opportunity to help scientists while making extra cash," warns the BBB. "Make sure it’s the real thing before you sign up."
How the Scam Works:
A message is sent by text, email, or a social media message, claiming you may qualify for a COVID-19 study and make thousands of dollars. One version received by BBB staff read: “Local Covid19 Study: Compensation up to $1,220."
No matter how curious you are, or how much you could use the extra money, don’t click on the link. If you click it, you could unknowingly download malware onto your computer or phone. This virus then gives scammers access to your usernames, passwords, and other personal information.
The link could also take you to a website that looks like a real clinical trial where you will be asked for personal information. The BBB says real medical researchers would never ask for this information during the screening process.
How to Avoid Clinical Trial Scams
- Look up the domain. Use lookup.icann.org to look up the URL address. Warning signs are a recent registration date or registration in a foreign country.
- Find it on the official website. If you receive a message about a study and want to confirm whether it’s true, go directly to, or do a web search for the organization’s website. You can also go to ClinicalTrials.gov, a free searchable database of clinical studies on a wide range of diseases. If there is no government agency, university, or hospital mentioned, it’s likely a scam.
- Never pay to be part of a clinical trial. Real clinical trials will never ask you to pay.
- Legitimate clinical trials do gather information, but not financial information. A real study might ask for your name, contact information, age, gender, race, ethnicity, or various pre-existing medical conditions. But they should never ask you for personal information like your bank account or social security number.
Always remember, NEVER give out personal information and if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Learn more about scams related to COVID-19 at BBB.org/Coronavirus.