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Teach English Abroad: How to Avoid A Scam

I was almost scammed try to find a teaching job overseas. On the prowl for an international teaching job on Serious Teachers, I was contacted by a man claiming to be a Brazilian man named Alex Rizzo working in Cheshire, England. He wanted a full-time English teacher to move to his home in England and act as live-in tutor to his non-English speaking wife. The opportunity sounded amazing. Too good to be true. And sure enough, it was. I had almost been scammed.

The feeling was discouraging and leaves  you feeling completely vulnerble.  The scam itself was in the purchase of an online airline ticket to fly to England that would have been refunded via bank information given to the gentlemen. Good thing we called the hotel in Wilmslow Cheshire  to find out if this guy was actually the head chef at the hotel in Cheshire. The lady said very disconcertingly, “We have no one by that name working here.”

Before you accept that job abroad here’s some things to consider the following:

1. Avoid agencies or employers that contact you via an email that ends in hotmail/gmail/yahoo or other web address that do not sound professional.

2. Avoid offers that do sound too good to be true, there is no perfect job, especially NOT in China.

3. Do talk to other teachers from the school to ask about working conditions and if they regularly receive payment on time or if it’s late. Many international job forums have country specific information to help you with this.

4. Do find out if the school provides its own material or if you are required to provide your own. Do ask about what the material is like.

5. Do the research. Sign up for job forums on International teaching job websites. These are great way to find the truth about schools, ask questions and raise concerns. Word of mouth can help a lot when it comes to finding a job.

6. Do research schools that you are considering. Find out if they have a website and check it out.

7. Don’t believe everything you hear or read. Listen and be open to considerations and warnings, but ultimately you are your own judge. Remember, no job is perfect, and every persons experience will be different.

8. Do read your contract thoroughly. Twice.

9. If any contract or agreement is sent to you, have another person or working professional have a look over it.

10. Never give your bank account information or credit card information to an employer or agency over the internet – unless there is a Pay Pal payment method in place. There is nothing that should require you pay for anything online. Flight and visa purchases, if agreed upon by your employer, will be refunded upon arrival.

See what a job offer scam looks like.

See the ESL and Living and Working abroad links on the homepage for more information on Teaching English Abroad.

6 comments on “Teach English Abroad: How to Avoid A Scam

  1. Erin
    December 1, 2011

    I work for the TEFL Institute ( and too often our students come to us with contracts that are too good to be true. This is a great guideline for people who are starting their job search!

    • Lindsay Anne Williams
      December 1, 2011

      Hey, Erin – Thank you for the post and nod to great guideline work. Just check out the – bookmarked it for an upcoming listing for our TEFL Listings (in the works).

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  5. natasha
    February 13, 2013

    hi lindsay, how did you know that it was a scam? i mean besides checking ou his employment? his advertisement sounded professional (formal).. i would like to seek your advice, what about the agencies such as ( travel to teach ltd. ) ? are they genuine? or the ( i-to-i ) agency? there are so much job postings there. and i am interested to teach in south korea… but i am just not sure about the genuine of these job postings by these agencies…there’re so many of them! please help. thanks

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