Vaccine trial scam alert

(WAVE3) The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about scams surrounding COVID-19 vaccine trials.

Scam artists always follow the headlines, and the biggest news around the world right now is the development of vaccines to end this global pandemic.

Scammers can sniff out that desperation in an instant once they got you on the hook.

Rihanna Smith-Hamblin with the Better Business Bureau said, “The scam artist come out of the woodwork for things like this.”

As many anxiously await the vaccine, the Better Business Bureau says scammers are taking advantage of that wait time and offering up ways to get a vaccine by telling people they can take part in clinical trials. And we’ll likely see more of these false offers as coronavirus cases continue to skyrocket.

Smith-Hamblin said, “Basically what happens you’ll get a text message, possibly an email, or a Facebook or social media message stating, ‘Hey, you could qualify for a clinical trial and make money doing it.”

Bad actors are “offering” hundreds or thousands of dollars. Pay attention to these red flags. If you haven’t inquired about a clinical trial and you get a message about one, delete it. Real clinical trials will never ask you to pay them. You shouldn’t give out your Social Security number. Never share financial information like your bank account or routing number.

Smith-Hamblin added, “If you get the text they will ask you to click on a link or download some type of document. If you are downloading a document you could be putting malware on your computer. That’s a big problem. They are trying to take your information. If you click on a link they might be fishing throughout your personal information.”

There are ways to detect what’s legit and what’s not. To find out if a clinical trial is real, go to http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. It’s a free searchable database of studies on a wide range of diseases. You can also find out if they are recruiting participants and their contact information.

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