SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — A Springfield woman recently hired for a remote position on Indeed found out it was all a scam. The position was offered by a company in Texas, called Lenier Consulting Group.
“Cathy” was asked to download a messaging app to communicate with the hiring manager, and after some back and forth she was offered the job. Cathy was so excited about finding a new job that she forgot a big red flag. Cathy had only spoken to this hiring manager on a messaging app.
The second red flag was raised when the hiring manager said Cathy would need to purchase equipment as she would be working from home. She was told she would receive a check that would cover equipment costs.
Cathy received a check for $6,859.54 and was instructed to deposit the check in her bank to purchase equipment from a vendor provided by the company. Cathy started to feel skeptical about the job because when she messaged them that she had received the check, the hiring manager asked her how many minutes it would take her to get to her bank and the to deposit.
The hiring manager grew impatient when Cathy didn’t respond, so she replied, “I’m busy right now. I should be able to do it within 30 minutes, is that ok? The hiring manager said they would be on hold until it was done.
Cathy followed her instincts and she called the Better Business Bureau, and she was advised not to deposit the check. The check, with an address in Texas, was not from Lenier Consulting. It was from a children’s theater and the scammer got a check with a routing number for an actual bank account.
The theater owner told Central New England’s BBB that this bank knew about the scam and that more than 20 checks had been deposited because of it. According to Nancy Cahalen, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central New England, people looking for a job should be careful. “These scam artists rely on you being so excited about this high-paying job that you look past all the warning signs,” she said. “Do your research. Research the company online, check BBB.org/scamtracker for similar scenarios, and beware of a company that only wants to communicate through a messaging app.
BBB researched the Lenier Consulting Group that Cathy was going to work for and discovered that the company was not real. Their website with lots of copied photos and links that don’t work.
Over the past month, BBB’s Scam Tracker has seen numerous reports of employment scams. BBB has some tips for avoiding employment scams:
- Research the job posting. Call or go directly to the company’s website for contact information to verify the job posting.
- Check companies on BBB.org if they claim to offer jobs.
- Do an Internet search with the employer’s name and the word “scam” to see if there are any reports involving employment scams.
- Examine the email address of those offering jobs to see if it matches the protocols used by a real company. Be mindful of Gmail work email addresses.
- Consider creating a separate email address when posting a resume on job boards or applying for jobs. This can help detect “offers” from fraudulent employers that you haven’t contacted.
- Consider setting up a second bank account just to handle pay for jobs where you’ve never met the employer in person.
- If you’re paying for the promise of a job, it’s probably a scam.
- Beware of mystery shopper or secret shopper positions.
- Home jobs that involve receiving and reshipping packages are likely scams.
- Beware of jobs that involve receiving and transferring money.
- BBB is not aware of any legitimate job posting that sends applicants checks and asks them to send money to a third party.
- Be careful when providing personal information such as your full address, date of birth, and financial information in your resume or to unverified recruiters and online applications. Even if you do the work, it can still be a scam.
- Do not answer calls, texts or emails from unknown numbers or suspicious addresses.
- Don’t click on any links in a text message from a number you don’t recognize. If a friend sends you a text message with a suspicious link that seems out of place, call them to make sure they haven’t been hacked.