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How not to fall victim to a TEFL scam.

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This article will help you avoid TEFL course scams during the Online TEFL/TESOL course sign-up process, and when you start searching for a teaching English job overseas or online.

Choosing your TEFL/TESOL course.

Thankfully, there are not so many outright TEFL course scams out there regarding teaching English training courses. If you have come across a course and are questioning its legitimacy, you should:

  1. Check to see whether the school is listed in the Trusted TEFL Reviews Online TEFL/TESOL Courses Directory: If it isn’t listed on Trusted TEFL Reviews, it might be that the school doesn’t exist or has failed the submission process.
  2. If searching online, try to discern real student feedback from business competitor attacks. The Online TEFL/TESOL certification course industry is highly competitive and certain companies do thrive, in part, by inflicting intentional damage on their rivals through misinformation campaigns. Always trust verified student feedback when choosing a program.
  3. Read the school’s reviews on Trusted TEFL Reviews. All reviews published on Trusted TEFL Reviews have been verified. Before a review is published, we always require additional verification that the person who has written the review really took the course.

Whilst there aren’t a significant number of outright TEFL course scams, there are many cases of grey area TEFL course scams. These low-to-middle-level scams usually present themselves in a school promising something and not delivering on that promise, and/or a school publishing false information so as to try to convince you to enroll in their course.

There are many, many, many fake TEFL reviews on the internet – mostly written by a handful of schools that are notorious within the industry for questionable practices. There is also a worrying trend that some schools will actively encourage graduates to take part in an affiliate links program – this is when you take your course and upon course completion, the school will try hard-selling you to encourage others to sign up, so that you can earn a commission on each future course purchase.

Some programs go even a step further by paying people who have never taken one of their courses to promote their program online; claiming that they took the course and claiming that the course has done so much for them. Instances of this are commonly found in highlighted content on travel blogs/vlogs, where a school is promoted and the blog/vlog author receives a commission when any new applicant uses their discount code at the time of course enrollment. Forums and other discussion sites are also targets for people hoping to make a bit of money by falsely claiming that they took such and such a course, which they “loved”, and closing their copy and paste statement with a checkout coupon code.

At Trusted TEFL Reviews, we make sure that each and every published review is verified and further ensure that no affiliate links are contained anywhere within this site.

Searching for an English teaching job abroad.

Unfortunately, there are many recurring cases of scams involving language schools and teaching overseas agencies.

One scenario is where a teacher applies for a job, through an agency, and pays an administration charge. The teacher then never hears back from the said agency and loses their hard-earned money.

Another type of scam involves identity theft and takes place after a teacher has emailed off scans of their official forms of identification. With this scam, the teacher then never hears back from the agency or school – their documents are used instead to fuel illegal activity.

The third, most popular scam, involves purposefully enticing teachers with misinformation. If a job sounds too good to be true, it invariably is.

So how do you avoid falling for scams when searching for an English teaching job abroad?

  1. Never pay anyone for job placement services. There are so many available teaching options out there that it makes little sense in hiring someone to do the legwork for you. If you do decide to go through a job placement agency, you might not only be paying their one-off fee – they might also be making money off you by creaming off a percentage of your monthly salary going forward.
  2. Do your background research and thoroughly go through a language school’s online reputation. Check to see what past students and teachers have posted about the school online and try, wherever possible, to speak with current teachers.
  3. Reduce the risk of being scammed by applying for the job whilst physically in the country where the school is located. This way, you will have the opportunity of seeing the school’s bricks and mortar premises and judging for yourself whether there is a pleasant working environment or not. This may not be a viable option if say applying for a teaching position in China (where initial applications should be made from your home country) but in these cases, you should rely on your online research to discern whether a school is legit.
  4. Lastly, choosing a TEFL/TESOL course program with ongoing job guidance is essential in helping you avoid all the pitfalls discussed above. Most TEFL schools advertise ‘international job guidance’, but not all of them adhere to this promise. Check out the Online TEFL Courses Reviews listed on Trusted TEFL Reviews to make a well-informed course program choice.

A unique feature of Trusted TEFL Reviews, and something that clearly sets us apart from most other Online TEFL reviews websites, is that we don’t allow TEFL programs the possibility of being able to pay to delete negative reviews. What we do allow TEFL programs to do, however, is to respond to any of their verified customer reviews transparently.

Whilst most of the programs listed on Trusted TEFL Reviews treat a negative review as an unavoidable occurrence when running a business, some programs, instead, have chosen the route of trying to pressure us to publish only positive reviews of their program. A couple of programs have also tried to claim that we are somehow associated with the highest-rated Online TEFL programs, so as to try to make it seem that we are biased against them.

Trusted TEFL Reviews is an independently-run Online TEFL/TESOL reviews website. We are not affiliated, in any way, with any of the Online TEFL/TESOL certification programs listed on this site.

If an Online TEFL/TESOL certification program has a high rating on Trusted TEFL Reviews, it means that they are doing something right when it comes to the product they offer and how they treat their customers.

If an Online TEFL/TESOL certification program has a low rating on Trusted TEFL Reviews, it means that they are doing something wrong when it comes to the product they offer and how they treat their customers.

Written by Mia Williams for Trusted TEFL Reviews (TTR) | Best Featured TEFL Articles

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