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Advice on Avoiding Teaching Job Scams
Admin - Dec 13 2015
I regularly receive emails from teachers asking whether certain teaching job offers are 'legitimate'. This interconnected world allows scam artists to thrive. As the global economic environment continues to change, the number of employment scams increases. In addition, the scams become much more creative and ingenious with their tactics. I would hope everyone follows a very simple rule when looking at teaching job offers or any type of employment offer: "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is".
Whenever I receive a complaint about an actual ESL TEFL TESOL teaching job posting from an ESL site, I investigate the ad to see if I can find anything questionable. Unfortunately, this doesn't stop all unscrupulous individuals from contacting teachers with fraudulent offers even when there is no ad in question. Regardless, all scams tend to follow a general format: (1) make a very generous offer, (2) ask for a response with documentation/personal information, (3) make a request to send money for services (i.e. visa or airline ticket) or promise of employment. Since the scams ultimate goal is to retrieve money or something else of value such as personal information, I find the routine rarely varies because the end result is always the same: to obtain something of value from you, whether it is information or money.
In addition, you should do some very basic background work on any ESL TEFL TESOL teaching jobs offer such as:
1. Did they actually post the terms of the teaching job offer on a public job board or are they just contacting teachers at random? If they did post, do the terms they state match what they are offering or is there a very wide variance.
2. Ask for contact information for present teachers employed with the school and speak with them.
3. Ask them for their contact information (Name, Address, Phone Number, Website, school email, etc.). If they don't give this, don't continue with the application.
4. Google the school name to gather information about them. Double check it with the information given in item #3 above. If the school or agency has a website, contact them through the website to ask about the job offer in question.
5. Compare the job offer to others. If the terms and benefits are far greater than the industry norm then it is probably not legitimate.
Please note that some scams have become very sophisticated with glossy websites, etc. to attract the unwary. Best to always Google search potential employers and do some basic research prior to accepting a job offer or responding to an unsolicited job offer.
I have added a Teaching Jobs Employment Scams Listing to my site with some of the most infamous scams that I have been alerted to. This would be a helpful list for teachers to review though it is by no means complete. There are always new and unique scams being generated. Every time I confirm a scam, I add it to this list so that teachers can have a broad idea of how to recognize potential scams.
I would suggest reading through my article Evaluating ESL TEFL TESOL Teaching Job Offers so that you know what questions to ask. There is also some good Employment Scam Advice on Wikipedia.
Remember: Anyone using the internet to find any employment, regardless of the industry they work in, should use caution and discretion. In addition, you should limit any personal information you send/share (i.e. don't send government ID numbers or credit card information) and never send moneyfor a promise of employment. Legitimate employers do not ask for this type of up-front monetary guarantee. Finally, follow the simple rule: "If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is".
If you are ever a victim of internet fraud and want to take action, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org or to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). In addition, there are international agencies such as ICPEN that handle cross-border/international internet fraud.
Best of luck in your job hunt and wishing you continued success.