Avoiding scams

- Scams

More resources

Scams forum
Check here for recent scam warnings

TEFL forums
Ask other teachers about their experience with a school

Guide to finding a TEFL job
More useful tips when looking for a job

While the great majority of employers advertising jobs are genuine, reputable businesses, the TEFL profession, like any other, attracts its fair share of disreputable employers and individuals seeking to exploit teachers for financial gain.

It is therefore important to be aware of some of the scam warning signs to look out for when searching for a job...

  • Employers requesting money
    Most reputable employers do not ask for money from applicants "up front" for any reason. One of the most common requests of scammers is to ask for money to pay for visa applications or other paperwork.

  • Offers which seem too good to be true
    If you see an employer offering a salary of $3000 in a country where others are offering $800, then it probably is too good to be true.

  • Employers offering you a job without speaking to you first, or expecting you to accept a job without seeing a contract.

  • Very poor English
    If the standard of English in the advert is blatantly bad, this is often a sign that the person who wrote it was not able to ask a native speaker for help. If the employer is an English language school, you have to wonder why this is the case.

  • Poor website imitations and strange domain name extensions
    Scammers often buy domain names with extensions such as .tl (East Timor) or .tk (apparently a free domain extension) to create poor imitations of a genuine school's website. A genuine school in the UK, for example, will normally have a UK domain extension (such as .co.uk or .org.uk), not a domain extension from East Timor or Norfolk Island!

  • Phone numbers or email addresses used in previous scams
    A quick internet search for the phone number or email address in the advert sometimes shows that it has been used before in another scam.

  • Strange addresses or postcodes
    A couple of examples are the best way to illustrate this:
    - A university in Cameroon advertises its address as "Worldwide, Niagara Falls"
    - A supposed employer in London adds a postcode of "M1K 5DA" - not a London postcode... not even a valid British postcode.

The most important thing is to do your research before accepting any offer of employment. Talk to other teachers, look in TEFL forums on this site and others, do a thorough internet search for the name of the school, the contact person, the contact email address or phone number.

We would strongly advise against sending any documents containing sensitive information such as your passport number until you are sure that the employer is genuine.

If you are at all concerned about any job advert on Eslbase, please contact us immediately.

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