COVID-19 Clinical Trial Scams
COVID-19 Clinical Trial: Real or Fake? Learn How to Tell the Difference
- Never pay to be part of a clinical trial, or to find out about one. Real clinical trials will never ask you to pay them.
- Do an online search before you join, with the name of the clinical trial and the words “scam,” “review,” or “complaint.”
- Legitimate clinical trials do gather information to identify ideal candidates. To screen for participants for COVID-19 trials, they might ask for your name, contact information, age, gender, race, ethnicity, or various pre-existing conditions associated with higher risk of a COVID-19-related mortality. But they should never ask you to give your Social Security number during recruitment or screening.
- Never share financial information (like your bank account or routing number). Most legitimate trials will offer to pay people to participate in the trial, but you can ask to be paid by check rather than direct deposit. The amount you get will vary based on the trial, but it can range from $1,000-$2,500, particularly in Phase III of vaccine trials.
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) maintain ClinicalTrials.Gov, a free searchable database of clinical studies on a wide range of diseases. You can also use the database to get more information about studies, including whether they’re recruiting participants, and their contact information.
- If you’re interested in volunteering for a COVID-19 trial, you can sign up at the COVID-19 Prevention Network, a site run by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.
You can also file complaints with your attorney general regarding consumer issues, frauds, and scams. To find your state attorney general, visit consumerresources.org.