SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A Springfield woman recently hired for a remote position on Indeed discovered that it was all a scam. The position was being offered by a company in Texas, called Lenier Consulting Group.

“Cathy” was told 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 getting a new job, she overlooked a big red flag. Cathy had only been talking to this hiring manager on a messaging app.

The second red flag was raised when the hiring manager said that Cathy would need to purchase equipment since she will be working from home. She was told that she will receive a check that would cover the equipment expenses.

Cathy received a check for $6,859.54 and was asked to deposit the check in her bank to purchase the equipment from a vendor that was supplied by the company. Cathy began to feel skeptical about the job because when she messaged them saying she received the check, the hiring manager asked how many minutes would it take for her to proceed to her bank and have it deposited.

The hiring manager got impatient when Cathy did not answer, so she responded with “I’m busy at the moment. I should be able to within 30 minutes is that okay?” The hiring manager said that they will be on standby until it was done.

Cathy followed her instincts and she called the Better Business Bureau, and she was advised to not 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 obtained a check with a routing number for an actual bank account.

The owner of the theater told BBB of Central New England that this bank is familiar with the scam, and that over 20 checks have been deposited because of this. According to Nancy Cahalen, President and CEO of Better Business Bureau of Central New England, people looking for jobs need to be cautious. “These scammers are counting on the fact that you’re so excited about this great paying job that you look past all the warning signs,” she said. “Do your research. Look up the company online, check BBB.org/scamtracker for similar scenarios, and be wary of a business that only wants to communicate through a messaging app.”

BBB did research on the Lenier Consulting Group Cathy was going to work for and discovered that the company was not real. Their website with full of copied photos and links that do not work.

In the last month, BBB’s Scam Tracker has seen a lot of employment scam reports. BBB has some tips on how to avoid job scams:

  • Research the job offer. Call or go directly to the actual company’s website for contact information to verify the job posting.
  • Check on businesses at BBB.org if they claim to be offering jobs.
  • Do an internet search with the name of the employer and the word “scam” to see if there are reports involving job scams.
  • Examine the email address of those offering jobs to see if it matches the protocols used by an actual company. Be alert to Gmail business 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 scam employers you did not contact.
  • Consider setting up a second bank account simply to handle pay for jobs where you have never met the employer in person.
  • If you’re paying for the promise of a job, it’s most likely a scam.
  • Be very wary of mystery shopping or secret shopper positions.
  • Work-from-home jobs that involve receiving and reshipping packages are likely scams.
  • Beware of jobs that involve receiving and forwarding money.
  • BBB is not aware of any legitimate job offers that send checks to applicants and ask them to send money to a third party.
  • Be cautious in providing personal information such as your full address, birth date and financial information in your resume or to unverified recruiters and online applications. Even if you do the work, it still may be a scam.
  • Do not respond to calls, text messages or emails from unknown numbers or suspicious addresses.
  • Do not click any links in a text message from a number you do not recognize. If a friend sends you a text with a suspicious link that seems out of character, call them to make sure they weren’t hacked.