Now… let’s get rid of the elephant in the room. TEFL scams. It’s what nobody wants to talk about, but what everyone wants to know about. Have I seen TEFL scams in 30 years abroad? Sure. Five or six times, not so much, but they do seem to be more and more common.
I got a scam letter one time. You might as well see it, so here it is. This email arrived in my inbox yesterday. They seem very common these days.
Take a look:
Hello English Teacher,
I’m Mister (fill in the blank) from Russia. I live here in Newcastle England. I have a son and a wife with me here and I need to …..
This is pretty easy, right? I really like to make a lot of money and this writer appeals to my greed because we’d all like to make a ton of money. And I’d like to tell everybody back home how much money I’m making. How much money I’m saving and flying around the world – even in business class if I can!
But the most important thing about this scam, and here is the interesting part… I’ll be responsible for some of the fees. This is where the scam plays out.
Here’s how it works: I quit my job. I’m living in my parents’ basement to get ready to go to the job. I told all my friends I got this great job. I’m leaving next week to go to the UK to teach for this guy.
So… late in the game he sends me a note… by the way can you please pay $500 for your Visa? You know… government paperwork stuff. Hmmm, smells fishy, but I already quit my job. I’ve got no money in my pocket. What am I going to do? I’ve to go pay it to get to the job. But that will be the last time you hear from him. Your money will be long gone.
How a TEFL Scam Works
So here’s what to look for in a scam. They approach you. They don’t know who you are. Maybe don’t even know your name. They make you a greaet offer, say they will “pay for everything” except that you might “be responsible for a few small fees…”
The request for money will be at the very last minute. You’ll be so embarrassed if you don’t follow through. You told your parents and friends. You were working a lousy job not saving any money. A dead-end job. You have to follow through and send the money. There is always a bit of ris in great gain… no?
Don’t do it.
Now… there will be times when you will need to pay for your work permit or visa, but you pay that directly to the embassy/consulate or ministry that is going to issue the document.