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BBB warns of vaccine study scam; here’s how you can find a legitimate trial


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As Pfizer and Moderna report promising news regarding the preliminary results of their COVID-19 vaccine trials, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning about a scam.

Paula Fleming, the BBB’s local chief marketing and sales officer, said people have been receiving emails, texts, and messages on social media offering compensation of up to $1,200 for participating in a vaccine study.

“We’re encouraging people not to click that link and to make sure they delete or block the sender,” Fleming said.

Clicking the link could cause you to unknowingly download malware which could give the scammer access to private information on your device, Fleming warned.

There are legitimate vaccine trials taking place, she clarified, adding that you can look up the domain name to confirm whether the study is real.

“Look for warning signs like a recent registration date,” she suggested.

To investigate further, Fleming said you can check the organization’s website or visit this free, searchable database of clinical studies that’s maintained by the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

“If there is no government agency, university, or hospital mentioned, it’s likely a scam,” Fleming expressed.

If the study asks for money, Fleming said that’s a big red flag.

“Legitimate clinical trials do gather information about candidates, but again, they don’t gather financial information,” she added.

Some personal information you may be asked to provide would be your name, age, gender, race, preexisting medical conditions, and contact information.

Fleming also stressed that if you’d like to take part in a clinical trial, ignore the email and go directly to the official database.

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