Beware of this English teacher scam!

By Lauren David Source:Global Times Published: 2017/12/7 17:43:39

Illustration: Luo Xuan/GT


Recently, I have been the victim of an intricate online English teacher scam, so today I am here to warn you about it so you don't fall for this trickery.

I came across an ad on a free monthly entertainment and listings site, which called for an online teacher for corporate English. I thought this would be a good way to earn some extra cash from home during the winter holidays. I applied for the job, and I am a white, American female with three university degrees and five years of teaching experience, so any teaching job I want, I can usually get.

Of course, I landed this job as well.

At first, things appeared slightly normal. I added the contact on WeChat (Myoffice213) and began talking to this person with a random profile picture of the sky. All seemed well until I started getting weird emails.

The first email instructed me to send another email with my name and address to a courier who would be delivering me a free laptop so I could conduct all my classes from it. I thought, Wow! Really? That's pretty awesome that this company would invest so much in their employees to send a free computer. Nevertheless, a bit of a yellow flag turned up, but I still proceeded to correspond with this company with caution.

The next email is when things turned really bizarre. The company then told me they were sending me a pre-paid debit card with 817,000 yuan ($123,546) loaded on it, which was to cover certain expenses and miscellaneous fees.

Here's where the red flag was thrown! Wait just one second. You mean to tell me that not only are you sending me a free laptop, but you are sending me a debit card with at least five years' worth of salary on it when I haven't even worked one day and you haven't ever seen my face?

I knew immediately that this was a scam, so I contacted the person on WeChat and asked to have a video call and for him to send me a picture of his identification, just so I can assure things were legit. Naturally, he blocked me.

I since contacted the website to alert them, and although they can remove the ad from the site, it's quite easy for this person to create a new ad with a different email and company name and do the same thing all over again.

But what is the actual scam? At first, I was worried that they were trying to steal my identity and now they had copies of all my documents and degrees. However, I have since learned that identity theft was probably not the goal. 

A friend and I seem to think the scam will come into play with the debit card. When you try to access any money from it, you will be required to pay a small sum of maybe 5-10 yuan to withdraw funds. Money, which of course, will not actually be in the account. So sure, 10 yuan isn't a large amount of money, but if they collect 10 yuan from 100,000 people, well you have yourself a nice lucrative scam.

So, beware of these types of shenanigans out there and be cautious of whom you send personal information to online.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.


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