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COVID vaccine trials can lead to imposter scams

Researchers are recruiting participants for COVID-19 vaccine research in Wisconsin, and scammers are beginning to take advantage. If someone is considering participating in a vaccine trial, make sure they know how to distinguish legitimate studies from imposters.

People should verify the research study. Clinical trials are big news; individuals should be able to find news stories online for legitimate trials on COVID-19 vaccines in the area, by looking at local news sites. If there is an advertisement for a study, do an online search with the provided information and the terms “news,” “scam” or “review,” to check whether If interested in volunteering for a research study, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), runs a COVID-19 Prevention Network site, with a volunteer screening database that can match someone to a current or future study.

Alternatively, people can verify information on a wide range of clinical studies, including if they are currently recruiting participants and official contact information, by searching the free searchable database maintained by the NIH and the National Library of Medicine at ClinicalTrials. Gov.

Understand what personal information the study may need. Screening questions for volunteers will likely include information such as name, phone number, email, address, age, gender, race, ethnicity and medical history. However, legitimate clinical trials should not ask for a Social Security number or financial account numbers.

Never pay to participate. Many legitimate vaccine studies may offer compensation for participation in the study.

the study is legitimate.

Do not click on links in emails, messages or pop-up advertisements. Instead, use a verified website for the study host, to ensure that personal information is not provided to a scammer.

However, legitimate studies will not ask for payment or credit card information. If compensated for participation in a legitimate study, financial information can be protected by asking for payment as a check, rather than direct deposit.

If a victim of an imposter scam, related to COVID-19 or otherwise, file a consumer complaint with the Departments of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, at