Want to participate in a COVID-19 clinical trial? Don’t fall for these scams.

Tips to avoid clinical trial scams

SAN ANTONIO – Across the U.S., thousands of clinical trials are underway to study vaccine candidates and treatments for COVID-19. And some bad actors are working to take advantage of clinical volunteers to make a quick buck.

If thinking about participating in a COVID-19 study for a vaccine or treatment, it’s crucial to know how to spot real clinical trials and weed out the fake ones, which are set up to steal money or personal information from participants.

The Federal Trade Commission is offering the following tips to help you avoid clinical trial scams:

  • Do an online search of the name of the clinical trial with the words “scam,” “review,” or complaint."
  • Never pay to be part of a clinical trial or to get information about one. The real deal will never ask you to pay.
  • While legitimate clinical trials will collect information such as your name, contact information, and medical history -- they should never ask you for your social security number.
  • If the clinical trial pays participants, do not give your banking information, and instead, ask to be paid by check.
  • You can find information on clinical studies on a wide range of diseases by visiting clinicaltrials.gov. This is a free database maintained by the national institutes of health and the national library of medicine.
  • If you spot a trial that’s charging participants or is asking for a Social Security number or financial information during the screening process, notify the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov/complaint.

About the Author:

Ivan Herrera has worked as a journalist in San Antonio since 2016. His work for KSAT 12 and KSAT.com includes covering breaking news of the day, as well as producing Q&As and content for the "South Texas Pride" and "KSAT Money" series.