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Beware of China Visa Agent Identity Theft Scam…

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  • Davis
    Participant
    15 February, 2015 at 3:50
    • Total posts: 48

    I’m not sure how "new" this scam really is but it is rather devious and deadly. I am not a rocket scientist but I am a veteran China expat and never would have found this fraud on my own – it is super slick and anyone who uses a visa agent has a 30% chance of being hit with what is called "Latent Identity Theft". You can read about it here;

    http://eslwatch.info/articles/141-asia- … theft.html

    To avoid it, just process your own visa application yourself with the Chinese embassy or consulate or PSB closest to you. This explains how to apply:

    http://au.china-embassy.org/eng/ls/vfc/t1038749.htm

    If you are too busy or just plain lazy and are willing to take the risks of using visa consultants see the blacklist of 35 known visa agents that work with ID theft rings at http://www.chinaforeignteachersunion.com (scroll down).

    Safe travels to all of you and Happy Chinese New Year!


    Questions about contracts, expat labor rights, teachers requirements and visa laws for China are found at http://chinascamwatch.org

    Eddy G.
    Participant
    17 February, 2015 at 3:16
    • Total posts: 15

    Reply To: Beware of China Visa Agent Identity Theft Scam…

    I got burned by one of these **** two years ago for $8,955 and then I had to spend almost $12,000 on two lawyers (one in China and one back home) to get my accounts unfrozen, liens released against our family home, and restore my once-good credit rating. Just clearing up the mess took almost a year.

    Sanchez
    Participant
    20 February, 2015 at 7:10
    • Total posts: 30

    OP is right – this is currently a growing scam, but not "new". It was first spotted in 2012 by China Scam Patrol which sent me the below which they posted at scam.com as a public warning;

    "My thanks to China Scam Patrol which sent me a huge file on identity theft in China that basically boils down to fake and unlicensed black market agents that collect personal data from both job and visa applicants and then after trying to sell their services, sell the information to identity theft rings for big bucks. In order to avoid detection they sit on the information to let it "cool off" a bit and then go on crime sprees using the victim’s identity for all sorts of scams including:

    * Credit Card Fraud
    * Prescription Fraud
    * Mortgage Fraud
    * Check Fraud
    * Driver’s License & Passport Fraud
    * Gun Registration Fraud
    * IRS Tax Refund Fraud
    * Automobile Financing Fraud
    * Stock Trading Fraud
    * Jewelry & Pawn Shop Fraud
    * Travel & Casino Fraud

    Usually the victim finds out in about six months after their banks accounts are either emptied or frozen by police investigators and a warrant for their arrest was issued! At the very least this scam costs the victims about $10,000 in legal fees to clear their names and get court orders to restore their previous credit ratings. 3,800 ID thieves have so far been identified by China Scam Patrol and 3,000 of them are China-based, and posing as various head hunters, HR managers, and ESL School job recruiters.

    In order to spot the bogus scam agents the CSP issued these 25 red flags and say that if any China agents falls into 5 or more of these categories, you should avoid and report them to tips{at}chinascampatrol.org

    1. Employees all use Chinglish names like “Peter Gao” or “Susan Liu”. These are fabricated ghost names that are virtually untraceable.

    2. Their web site is less than a year old (or they don’t have one at all)

    3. Their web site uses a .org or .cn domain.

    4. Their web site contains no verifiable street address for their office.

    5. Their web site has no land-line telephone number published – only disposable mobile numbers.

    6. They demand copies of your passport before you receive a written job offer and sign a contract.

    7. They cannot produce a color scan copy of their SAIC Chinese business license which can be verified on line.

    8. They insist on meeting you in a coffee shop or your office – never their own.

    9. They always fill out your visa application in Chinese so you cannot understand if they are lying or not.

    10. They are not members of the BBB or any legitimate Chamber of Commerce. (if they are US-based)

    11. They use disposable free emails like gmail, hotmail, sina, 163, qq, 126, yahoo, etc.

    12. They claim there is someone else with your same name in the computer system and they need your taxpayer ID (SSN) to clarify for the Chinese visa bureau.

    13. They tell you that you don’t need a Z visa right away and to just come to China on an L, F, or M, visa.

    14. They offer to sell you a fake diploma and/or TEFL certificate, or FEC

    15. They tell you that you have a job before you ever even interviewed with the school or director employer.

    16. They never give email confirmations of verbal promises made to you.

    17. They rush or pressure you to sign a contract giving a fake deadline that is only a few days away.

    18. They ask you for the names and phone numbers of your teaching colleagues as a professional references. (They are later contacted and offered jobs in China)

    19. No written job description with the name and school location is provided to you until after your arrive in China.

    20. They ask for up-front money or a deposit of any kind.

    21. They coach you how to lie when applying for your visa.

    22. They tell you that the average wage for expats in China is 5,000-7,000 yuan per month.

    23. They tell you that you must use a visa agent because the application process is very complicated and confusing and/or all the forms are in Chinese! (absolutely false).

    24. That without a TEFL certificate it is impossible to find a teaching job in China that pays more than 5,000 Yuan per month.

    25. That your China employer must hold your passport for a 3-6 month probationary period.

    There is also a blacklist of 35 notorious visa agents and 367 scam recruiters maintained at http://www.chinaforeignteachersunion.org which I will soon be adding to the China’s Liar List here at Scam.com. The last big bust in China for ID theft was 1,700 people back in 2012: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-18189980 and since then most of the rings moved from Beijing to Fujian Province where they can better protect themselves with bribes.


    Before applying for teaching jobs in China be sure to review http://chinascamwatch.org and the r/ChinaTEFL sub at Reddit so you don’t get screwed.

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