Avoid TEFL job scams, what to look for
Moving abroad to teach English has become a popular career path for people of all ages and backgrounds worldwide. There are many TEFL and TESOL jobs on offer, but how do you know which are for real? Some look too good to be true! Find out what scams are around and how to avoid them.
What do scammers gain from scamming TEFL teachers?
Scammers do what they do, taking advantage of those wanting to teach abroad purely for money. There are many ways they scam those looking for a TEFL job abroad but here are the most common ones. They will say that an application, visa, or pre-interview fee must be paid upfront for you to get an interview from schools. They could also steal your personal data and credit card details.
Scam Number 1: Using the name of a recognised and reputable school
Finding job adverts with TEFL jobs from a recognised school is widespread. The scam school’s name will be similar to the legit school’s, so it will be hard to notice the difference. For example, the email of a reputable language school in Madrid is email@example.com. The scammer’s email could be: firstname.lastname@example.org Very confusing indeed.
The first red flag is the Gmail account. A serious language school will usually have a top-level domain like .es for Spain or .uk (UK) or an email ending with .com. So it definitely will not be from one of the free accounts like Gmail or Yahoo.
How to avoid this scam: Do your research. This will be time well spent and hard-earned money saved. When in doubt, google is your friend so google the school’s name. If the school has its website, check the email against the email on the job advert. The chances are they will not be the same. Next, email the school with the website and ask if the job offer you saw was from their school. As explained earlier, scammers will use the name of legit language schools and make it look like the job offer they are advertising came from the legit school.
Scam Number 2: Money upfront before you can proceed with the job application.
As mentioned earlier, a common scam will be for these scammers to ask you for money upfront. They would tell you that there are so many prospective TEFL teachers and that they need to know who are the ones who are serious about the TEFL job offer. Now we get to the clincher. They will tell you that you need to pay money upfront if you are serious about the job offer. Also, don’t fall for the line that all the money you paid upfront will be re-reimbursed by the language school that hired you. They will ask for upfront money for air tickets, visas, housing and the security deposit for the accommodations. Most legit schools will already have these arranged before you arrive in the country.
How to avoid this scam: Do your research. Generally, no TEFL employer should ask for flight money upfront. Look at the visa fees for the country you are going to. Go to the website of the host country. Check the prices and procedure for getting a visa for work purposes. Check if this is your responsibility or the school’s responsibility. Remember that most countries hiring nationals from other countries will need to take care of the work visa to enable the guest worker to work right after arriving. In all embassies, before they give you a work visa for another country, they will need to see the work contract. Also, most companies hiring guest workers take charge of all the paperwork, which can be bureaucratic and time-consuming. It is unlikely that the school will ask a guest worker to do the visa processing themselves without any supporting work documents from the school.
Scam Number 3: Getting hired without an interview
In this day and age of remote work, most employers will conduct a preliminary interview via Zoom, Skype or Google meet. Most legit schools would want to meet and interview prospective teachers before they offer the job and start the visa processing. If you are offered a job without an interview, there is no job, and the whole thing is a scam.
How to avoid this scam: If the school does not want to interview you, you can assume that there is no job on offer. So you either drop the whole thing entirely or ask for an interview and see what they have to say.
Scam Number 4: There are no current teachers you can speak with
It is quite acceptable to speak to other teachers to see if the school is a fit. Current or former teachers will be able to give you a big picture, and some might even gladly share their experiences with the school. If you are not allowed to speak to current or former teachers, that is a red flag right there! The school does not exist, and there is no job on offer SCAM! You can try asking them why you can’t speak to their other teachers. Due to data protection, they will probably tell you they cannot give you the teacher’s contact details. While this is true, there is something called permission. If they ask for the teacher’s permission, this, in effect, says that the teacher has given her consent and that the school can give you her contact details. Most teachers will not mind helping a newbie. They have been in your shoes and will be excellent guidance and information sources. If this school tells you no one wants you to contact them, that is a big red flag. Again, the school does not exist; you must walk away from it.
How to avoid this scam: You can also ask the employer to give the current or former teachers your contact details. Once again, if not one teacher contacts you, get away from them as fast as you can; this one shouts SCAM!
It’s not all doom and gloom!
There are scams in all walks of life. They are not limited to TEFL jobs. Most TEFL jobs are posted by legit and genuine schools looking for qualified and certified EFL teachers for their many English teaching availabilities. Many EFL teachers are now better equipped, ready to face F2F and Online EFL teaching jobs. From COVID rose a new breed of EFL teachers. They trained online with a name like Trinity College CertTESOL, ready to teach Online and F2F English classes. They have more opportunities as they have a much better skill set. Don’t get discouraged with these SCAMS. You are now aware of the most common and how to avoid them. The demand for qualified and certified English teachers is at a high. Don’t miss the boat. Get certified most affordably and practically without sacrificing quality, reputation and worldwide recognition. Get trained on your Online Trinity College CertTESOL course, get that certificate and travel the world!