Identity Theft and Teaching English Abroad

How to protect yourself from identity theft when seeking employment abroad

I have at numerous times in my life worked to help place people in jobs in Korea, Thailand and China.  As a result, I have also run across a fair number of people who express concern about submitting required documents, usually citing identity theft as the reason for their hesitance.

Requests for documents – usually a resume/CV, passport type photo and scan of the ID page of passport – often bring comments such as the following:

Send me a signed contract and I will send you a scan of my passport.

Give me a concrete job offer and I will send you the details you request.

Bear in mind that a documents request precedes an interview, how can a contract be on offer at this stage in the process?

Employers have legitimate reasons for their requests

Employers aren’t typically collecting data to sell onward.  They really just want to know to whom they are talking.  They have a very real concern about the large number of people who head abroad misrepresenting themselves and/or who might have criminal records and or an inappropriate interest in the children at their school.

As witness, notice the increasing numbers of countries now asking for criminal records checks and asking for an apostille on the copies of your documents.   Many countries also conduct “informal” records checks as well.   So – though you haven’t been asked for a criminal records check, that doesn’t mean a less stringent check was not conducted.

Anyone who has lived abroad for more than a few years is aware of the number of people working as teachers who have been arrested, either for inappropriate sexual behavior on the job or for crimes committed before they arrived.  It is a serious problem.

Let’s assume that “bad guy” isn’t you though and try to find a common ground between the employer and the teacher candidate.

 How to protect yourself from identity theft

Go ahead and black our your passport number or even the barcode on your passport.  That’s not a problem and people can still see your name and other useful data about you.  Understand though that if you are offered a job, you will probably need to provide an uncensored scan of that document to begin the visa process.

There is no need to provide any financial information, mother’s maiden name or any other non-relevant information.  Schools need to know who you are, but that is all they really need to know.

Simple enough.

TED’s Tips™ #1:  Schools need to protect their students and are justified in asking you to provide some proof of your identity.  If your child was a student at that school, I am sure you would want the hiring authority to take some care in the hiring process.   It’s not just about you.  It’s about the students.

Teaching Internships in China
Online TEFL Training
Quality Online TEFL Training

SHARE WITH TEFL NEWBIE: If you are an experienced teacher – or even a newbie – that has some positive advice or a great story to tell TEFL Newbie readers,  CLICK HERE.