Beware OnlineTEFL.com Is A Sophisticated Scam In Progress – Targeting Work Abroad Teachers

I recently noticed the below blog entry that got my curiosity aroused…

“OnlineTEFL.com is a shady scam to say the least but their spamming marketing department is very good at hiding all the negatives and there are many explained here at http://ChinaFraudPatrol.blogspot.co.uk. Don’t send these fraudsters a single dime until you visit this site. Do not believe their lies like those below…

1) Without a TEFL certificate you cannot teach in China (utter nonsense)
2) They offer “paid internships” after you get your TEFL certificate (a ruse)
3) You can learn how to teach with only a 2 day on-line course (impossible)

Their “paid Internship” program is really a job placement service but because they take 50% of your salary as a fee they never tell you about, they have to say the job is an “internship” since you are working for half-price. Others who take the same position are collecting full salary!

This place is herds victims like cattle through their fraudulent operation and anyone who asks to many questions is simply not good for business! Also note that they own and operate three of their own online “TEFL REVIEW” sites where they of course are always “the best”. OnlineTEFL.com is a very well-disguised scam friends.”

So I started to do some homework which led me to think I should pretend to be interested and make some inquiries as a prospective wannabe TEFL Teacher.  I ended up speaking with a a girl named “Joanne” who was friendly, polite, and very, well… dishonest.  I told her that I was interested in working in China and had many concerns about working there.  Of course she was focused on selling an expensive TEFL course which I said I would buy if she could assure me of finding a job in China.

Well she told me many great and wonderful things about working in China but when I told her I had ready many articles about the toxic air pollution and dozens of scams including agent fraud and getting cheated on salaries and identity theft, she claimed those were all old articles from five years ago, and things are much better in China today and those “old problems” are no more.  So then I pointed out to here that on their own community forum called “Chalkboard”  there were several very recent posts of maybe 6 months or less posted by users “Observant”, “China_Charlie”, “Magoo,” and “CFTU” that indicate the problems were bigger than ever.  I even gave here the links. Joanne said she would have a look and call me back.

Well lo and behold… the very next day all those articles I had referred to Joanne were missing – just deleted! I then received a call from Joanne who tried to convince me I must have confused their web site with another because she could not find any of the articles I was talking about!  So, I then sent her some of these links…

http://open.salon.com/blog/china_business_central/2012/12/14/china_foreign_teachers_exploited_and_abused_by_scams

http://www.ChinaScamBusters.com

http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/beijing/articles/blogs-beijing/expat-life/scam-alert-foreign-teacher-fraud/

Joanne responded by giving me links to a half dozen “TEFL Review” websites. I visited them all and three of them were clearly started by onlinetefl.com and as you might expect, they received many glowing reviews.  She then told me that if I taught in China, I could “earn a small fortune”.  Anyone who ever worked in China knows that the average salary for foreign teachers in China is roughly $12,000 – $20,000 a year as per this link…  http://www.zimbio.com/Beijing+China/articles/CWDbD8FdBB9/China+Foreign+Teachers+Say+Low+Salaries+Insulting  When I told Joanne that I did some research and found that 27 other countries pay foreign teachers between 40% – 200% more than China, she started telling me about how cheap it is to live in China even though Beijing has the third highest housing costs in the world!  $12,000 a year is only a lot of money to Chinese people whose average salary is half this amount.   Graduates who have the burden of a student loan cannot survive in China – period.  Need I go on?  Okay, if you insist…

Joanne changed the subject every time I asked a “difficult” question like “Many people including the China Teachers Alliance and The China Foreign Teachers Union told me I don’t need a TEFL certificate to teach in China. Why did you tell me it was a mandatory requirement?”  Joanne suddenly told me her Skype connection was “bad” and we suddenly got disconnected. About 10 minutes later I received a call back from “Chris” who told me “Joanne had to take an urgent call” and he would help me if I had any questions.  So I asked him the toughest ones – about their alleged “paid internships”.  In less than five minutes, I heard enough from Chris to know this operation is a bloody scam.  The “paid internships” are really job placements but since they collect a huge placement fee (50% of monthly salaries) they cannot possibly say that so the “job” is transformed into a “paid internship”.  And of course you can only get this internship if you buy their pricey TEFL course.

I give these onlinetefl.com folks a A for creativity, an A for a slick web site and an F for honesty.  Avoid them like the plague if you want to maintain the good health of your wallet.  This company certainly deserves to be blacklisted.

WolfInSheepsClothes

If you fell for the onlinetefl.com scam don’t feel bad. You are not alone. With over two dozen people working in their telesales office and only a ten percent closing ratio, I calculate they are ripping off about 100+ people each and every day.  Honestly, do you really think you can learn to become a teacher in 2 days on-line and over Skype?  In reality they are selling expensive certificates on line – just like  the diploma mills.  The sad part of this story is that their certificate will never be asked for in China and many other countries. Believe what you like, but don’t ever say that you were not warned.  A pig wearing lipstick, is still just a pig.

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3 comments on “Beware OnlineTEFL.com Is A Sophisticated Scam In Progress – Targeting Work Abroad Teachers”

  1. Are you really surprised friend? All on-line TEFL training companies are basically fraud factories if there is no international accreditation. These onlinetefl.com people just spend a lot more money on marketing and a web site that makes everything look quite legitimate including all the phony posts in their forum saying all those wonderful things.

  2. If what you say is true, then why does About.com give them such big kudos and 3 out of 5 stars at http://esl.about.com/od/esleflteachertraining/gr/itoireview.htm ? Are you a disgruntled or envious competitor?

  3. Marlene,

    Are you an onlinetefl,com employee or just that naive? Kenneth Beare is a bought and paid for shill (look it up). Read the reviews others have wrote and when I tried to add my own it was not added to the list. Why? Anyone can write a blog for About.com. When Ken originally wrote that review it was 5 stars. After people started writing reviews it dropped to 3 stars. If more people were not being censored and edited by the moderator of that site it might be one star by now! There are many “hired guns” just like Ken Beare who will help most any scam turn a profit for the right price. Ken may be a teacher as he says, but he never really lists his degrees or any credentials, nor explains why and how he came to learn about onlinetefl.com. Think about that for a minute. Why would he randomly praise a company where he never took a course?

    Ken Beare’s praise therefore needs to be taken with a grain of salt just as the two other “TEFL Review” websites created by onlinetefl.com for onlinetefl.com which has been blowing their own horn for almost five years now. Believe what you like – its your money at risk – not mine,


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