Coronavirus file photo stock of nurse

In this March 13, 2020, file photo, a nurse at a drive-up coronavirus testing station wears a face shield and other protective gear as she waits by a tent in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The Better Business Bureau of South Central Louisiana warns that scammers are sending out text messages promoting phony clinical studies that purportedly target the coronavirus. Those who fall for their ruse are tricked into giving their bank account information or downloading malicious software.

While scientists have sought volunteers to help in their research, none of them require people to pay to be a part of a study. Those behind real studies may ask medical-related questions and for demographic information, but not bank account numbers.

The unsolicited texts often promise pay for participation in a "Local Covid19 Study," the BBB warns.

"It’s a scam! The phony message includes a link to see whether or not you qualify for the study," the agency said. Clicking the link could ultimately give scammers access to usernames, passwords or other personal information.

At other times, a link could take you to an official-looking site that request for personal information like a government ID or bank account number. 

The BBB says 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. If there is no government agency, university, or hospital mentioned, it’s likely a scam.