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How not to fall victim to a TEFL scam.

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This article helps you avoid scams during the TEFL course sign up process, and when you start searching for a teaching English job abroad.

Choosing your TEFL course.

Luckily, there are not so many outright scams out there regarding teaching English training courses. If you have come across a course and are questioning its validity, you should do a search and see whether there is any negative feedback online which raises any immediate red flags. If you cannot find any information at all about the school, other than the school’s website, then it is probably a course to avoid. If wanting to choose an online TEFL course, check to see if the school is listed here on If it isn’t, then it might be that the school doesn’t exist, or has failed the submission process.

Whilst there aren’t a significant number of outright scams, there are many cases of grey area scams. These low level scams usually present themselves in a school promising something and not delivering on that promise, or spreading false information to get you to sign up.

There are many, many, many fake TEFL reviews on the internet – often written by the schools themselves. There is also a worrying trend that some schools will actively encourage graduates to take part in an affiliate links program. How this works is that you take your course and then at the end the school will tell you that by getting other students, you can earn a commission. While this is not a scam per se, it does leave you wondering about the true authenticity of such reviews.

At Trusted TEFL Reviews, we make sure that each review submitted is verified and further ensure that no affiliate links are contained within.

Searching for an English teaching job abroad.

Unfortunately, there are many cases every year of scams involving language schools and teach 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 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 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 then it invariably is.

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

(1) Never pay anyone to help find yourself a teaching English job. There are so many available teaching options out there that it makes little sense in hiring someone to do the legwork for you. If they are a reputable agency, then you might not only be paying for their one-off fee – they might also make money by having a percentage of your monthly salary, sent directly to them.

(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 while 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 course with ongoing job guidance is essential in helping you avoid 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 choice.

Update notice, July 24th:

The information that Trusted TEFL Reviews is receiving about the ESLinsider Online TEFL certification course, suggests that this program is likely a fraudulent company – run by an individual who (under the guise of altruism) attacks his competition with defamatory online content in the hope of catching some business for himself. Please read the latest review of the ESLinsider Online TEFL certification program to make up for your own minds whether you would pay money to the owner of ESLinsider (Ian Leahy) or not.

Written by Mia Williams for Trusted TEFL Reviews.

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