China “Work Abroad” Scams Growing – Blacklist & Whitelists Now Being Compiled – YOUR Help Is Requested

With each passing day, China is is being used more often as “bait” for over 300 known and growing “work abroad” scams. Thousands of desperate unemployed people from westerns economies that are gasping for air, as well as new university graduates with huge student loans to repay are falling for ads like this one…

“English-Speaking Manager Trainee wanted by Fortune 500 Company in Shanghai. Must hold degree in Business Administration, be a team player and wiling to sign a 3-5 year contract. Compensation: $60,000 – $80,000 depending on your talent, experience, and contacts. Send your CV and current photo in confidence to Phillip@C**CAsia.com”

According to the vague requirements of this ad, over 14.5 million people in America alone might qualify, perhaps 60 million qualified candidates world-wide and ultimately about 200,000 people will apply. Unfortunately the ad is a fake – designed to lure people into one of many foreign teacher or internship scams being operated by unscrupulous fraudsters looking to grab all the low-hanging fruit they can for a quick $1,000 to $3,000 profit per snatch. It is a very lucrative business. In fact, Interpol estimates the China “work abroad” scam market exceeds $350 million annually.

Indeed China is the current land of golden opportunity, but those who work here can tell you straight away that all the good-paying jobs with international companies require one of three things; 1) either inside company contacts, 2) government contacts, or 3) an unpaid or low-pay 3-6 month internship with the company doing the hiring, the latter becoming a growing trend where employers can “try before they buy” a candidate. But for every real internship, there are 30 fraudulent ones being peddled online by no less than a dozen companies like CRCCAsia.com and ChinaSolutions.com which spend a fortune on extravagant and flashy web sites, and thousands of dollars on SEO to get hundreds of ads littering the internet. Their clients pay $2999 for an internship with an unnamed company that usually turns out to be an unpleasant surprise like a telemarketing job “professionally matched” to a business finance major. Of course there are no refunds and legitimate companies look for legitimate interns with the intent to hire the best performers are finding it more difficult to make all the pieces fit. Other companies are just glad to get the near slave labor provided by CRCC and China Solutions and had their “international” company names like “Lucky Gold Star 88 Export Company” actually been disclosed to intern applicants, business would quickly evaporate.

These shady operators thrive in a Chinese culture where cheating foreigners has almost become a national hobby and pulling off a successful fraud is thought to be “clever” by the locals. Most scammers operate large telemarketing boiler rooms staffed by low-paid staff working on commissions. They dial for dollars 24/7/365 into a dozen different time zones. This is one scam that never sleeps. This link explains what one fellow found when he visited the Beijing office of “China’s leading intern placement company” http://www.abroadreviews.com/scam-alert-crcc-china-internships-are-fraud. Both CRCCAsia.com and ChinaSolutions.com claim to be “partners” with many American universities but this New York Times article explains what these affiliations really mean; http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/03/opinion/03perlin.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

But by far the more common work abroad frauds are being perpetrated by self-proclaimed “employment recruiters” and “agents” – 95% of which are unregistered and not licensed to do business in China. They mostly focus on recruiting foreign teachers for china or selling worthless TEFL certificates (see our recent post on Online TEFL training scams). They too rely on selling employment dreams in China to desperate people around the world using a pile of lies and smooth talking telesales people. This article sheds some insight into their deceitful methods; http://www.zimbio.com/Exposing+Scams/articles/QXkaFYKZ090/More+Expats+China+Now+Targeted+ID+Theft+20 Many of these sly schemers will use advertisements on Craiglist and even run hundreds of ads in overseas newspapers and on expat forums like Echinacities.com, TheBeijinger.com, ChinaJobs.com, etc. The editors of these publications do not have the time nor resources to properly screen all of these ads, especially when they are paid ads. Two such bogus ads even turned up in the New York Times and Chicago Tribune recently!

There are even companies now charging people serious money just to “volunteer abroad”! Why do people fall for this crap? The reasons are many, but ignorance of overseas employment markets is the primary problem. Now just add a little gullibility, naivete, and an awesome web site of a scammer, and PRESTO – we have another victim! So how to sort the facts from all the fiction? If you are job seeker with hopes of finding a new life in China, we offer the following advice:

1) Do not be fooled by fancy websites, self-generated fake review sites, or the dozens of ads a company posts on line, nor how long they claim to be operating. These are just illusions designed to create false credibility.

2) If you are contacted by someone claiming to be an agent, ask them to email you a color scan of their Chinese ID card, their SAIC license, physical street address, and then do some simple verifications before you send them a dime or any personal ID (like a passport or visa scan) they can sell to ID thieves. Fake agents tend to go by western names like “Tommy” or “Lilly” and use disposable mobile phone numbers and free email addresses that change regularly.

3) Check the blacklslists online at http://www.CleverChinaCheaters.com, http://www.ChinaScamBusters.com, http://www.ChinaScamCentral.com, or send us an inquiry to help@ChinaScamPatrol.org

4) Simply Google the name of the company along with the key words of “scam, problems, complaints, fraud” and see what pops up.

5) Stay away from the below websites which are just fronts to collect contact info for telemarketing scams that are selling either illegal visa services, TEFL certificates, bogus teaching jobs, dead-end internships, travel insurance, overpriced travel packages, etc. Everyone has a right to operate a legitimate business but these folks have a history of greedy and/or unethical exploitation.

chinaesl.com
eslchina.com
teachabroadchina.com
tefl.cc
tefl.cn
eslteachersboard.com
chinatefl.net
chinadailymail.com
0086.com
teach-in-china.net
china-tesol.com
abroadchina.org
onlinetefl.com
workabroadchina.com
globalcrossroads.net
chinatefl.cn
eslgrove.com
domscafe.com
domseslcafe.com
bilingual-institute.com
directcareers.com
employment.com
humanresource.com
jobsearchdirect.com
jobvacancies.com
myreplymate.com
primesolutionsservices.com
personnelrecruiters.com
personnelservices.com
recruitmentservices.com
response4free.com
esleteachercafe.com
staffsolutions.com
chinatefljobs.com
teachers-international.org
teachinginchina.com
chinasolutions.com
i-to-i.com
onlinetefl.com
teachinchinatoday.com
teacherwantedchina.com
nextstepchina.org
nextstopchina.com
crccasia.com
teachinginchina.net
chinateachers.com
workabroad.com (under investigation)
goabroad.com (under investigation)

Remember, there is no Better Business Bureau nor Federal Trade Commission here in China to protect you, and the courts here will not be bothered with petty fraud complaints from foreigners. You are basically on your own, and only the above advice and your own common sense can help you avoid being scammed. 52% of all foreigners who came to work in China in 2012 admit that they were cheated. The average loss was $3,700. But the thieves are not all Chinese. About 20% of them are now foreigners who came to China to ply their con games, almost with impunity. Also, NEVER send copies of your passport nor visas to “agents” nor “recruiters” – only verified direct employers as 20% of all Chinese agents are front for ID thieves. See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-18189980. Don’t become another victim. Whether you heed or ignore the above advice is up to you, but when you do stumble upon a fraud like the above, please share it with us so we can warn the 52,000+ expats that receive our newsletter every month. You can report your job, agent, and/or intern fraud to us at scamreport[at]ChinaScamPatrol.org

UPDATE: Please take note that this link has been hacked three times thus far and it will now be monitored daily as it appears someone has hired hackers to conceal this fraud alert.


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22 thoughts on “China “Work Abroad” Scams Growing – Blacklist & Whitelists Now Being Compiled – YOUR Help Is Requested

  1. Thanks for the shortlist. Can you guys post a comprehensive list of all the China scams or better yet, hook up with CleverChinaCheaters.com and consolidate your list with theirs? You mentioned 300 work abroad scams. Please list them all if you can. Thanks.

  2. Good job guys. These people have a well hidden fraud that most people would never suspect. I bet the owner is a millionaire – several times over. Who is the owner anyway?

  3. anyone got any info on the legitimacy of getochina.com and yourcareerchina.com? so far i avent seen them red flagged anywhere

  4. I think there are a few legal issues here since 1) Foreigners are not allowed by law to work for a state-owned enterprise – the largest companies in China, 2) You must have a Z visa to work in China and interns do not get a Z visa, and 3) I am not sure that CRCC’s terms and conditions are legal according to Chinese law.

    • Dear W. Johnson,

      Thank you for your concerns. We at CRCC Asia have been working at connecting China and the rest of the world for 8 years now, and are one of the leading providers of internships in China. Since 2008 we have facilitated over 3000 placements in Beijing and Shanghai, and have since received multiple awards for our programs. 1) The information about SOEs is untrue, we have legally placed interns in SOEs before, but we also work with a large range of both Chinese and international firms. 2) All of our internships are unpaid due to visa regulations. All interns go out to China on a F visa, a business visa. Under current regulations unpaid internships for up to 6 months are covered by F visas. 3) Our terms and conditions have been written by a large reputable international law firm, (and have since illegally been copied by a number of competitors).

      Please see our website for more information on our programs. Or alternatively visit the extensive range of external press coverage and UK government support we have had, which indeed would be very difficult to forge if we weren’t a reputable, genuine internship provider in China.

      If you have any further concerns or queries, please feel free to drop by any of our 8 global offices or contact us at director@crccasia.com.

      CRCC Asia

  5. I don’t buy the CRCC spin being spoon-fed to us by their PR people. Where there is smoke there is fire. Although I have no personal experience with this group. From all the below links they appear to be true hustlers to me. My only question is who owns this company? Is it a Chinese or foreign owner? All the fake tesitomonials and self-made reviews don’t fool me a bit. They need to be prosecuted in my opinion.

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AtBesb.DXUyYCeSQtg4NhRkjzKIX;_ylv=3?qid=20130520013320AAKutvN

    http://www.tefl.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=5920

    http://www.chinafraudpatrol.blogspot.com/

    http://www.esl-jobs-forum.com/viewtopic.php?p=13382

    http://eslwatch.info/china-2/scams-or-schemes-in-china/8939-warning-crccasia-chinasolutions-com-are-internship-scams?hitcount=0

  6. How the hell did these people get all the complaints removed from the net? About this time last year there were about three dozen complaints about this company on the internet that saved me from making a big mistake. Now I cannot find most of them. Did they hire one of those reputation hackers or what?

  7. I am a lawyer in Beijing and having read the terms and conditions now posted at CRCCAsia.com, I have to agree with Johnson that there are questions as to the legality of their internships since interns cannot legally collect a salary in China. The New York Times also raises some legal issues that cannot be ignored. I would error on the side of caution and take a pass on this alleged “opportunity”. These people are probably just wolves in sheep’s wool. Here’s the Time’s article >>>>> http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/03/business/03intern.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    This other article is even a bigger eye-opener in my opinion >>>>> http://qz.com/19986/my-advice-to-unpaid-interns-youre-being-exploited-and-wont-get-a-job/

  8. I did my homework and Johnson is correct. It is illegal for an intern to collect a salary on an F Visa. All people who work in China must hold a valid Z visa and be sponsored by a company – NOT a internship company. CRCC has no authority to write invitation letters unless they are going to “employ” a person to work for them. It is 100% illegal for them to write an invitation letter for a person to go work for a third party. I also confirmed with SAFEA and the Ministry of Labor that as of March 1, 2012, Chinese SOEs (State-Owned Enterprises) are not allowed by Chinese law to hire foreign interns. Any company that blatantly violates Chinese laws must surely be a scam. I have no idea how many laws of other countries they may be violating. I think it is prudent to stay clear of this group no matter how much publicity they generate for themselves.

  9. Note to all: In recent days we have received over 200 spam submissions to this blog including a handful of entities trying to plug a CISC internship company which is apparently a competitor of CRCC. As per our new policy we will not accept more than one post from any one ip address and we will ban ip addresses that attempt to spam us. Since I do not have time to weed through all this spam just to find a handful of genuine comments, I will be closing comments on this blog in 48 hours. Thank you for your understanding. – Jason

  10. Due to the flood of spam we are getting on this post comments are now closed. All readers are urged to use extreme caution when dealing with any work abroad company. Also note that we were advised and we have confirmed that there is no relation nor affiliation between CRCC and China Solutions, the latter of which seems to have gone out of business recently.

  11. Please add chinaimmersion.org to the list. I was scammed by the guys named Timmy Wang and Chad Springer.
    They down right refused to pay me the stipends while I was doing an internship and never renewed my visa. I also paid them an outrageous fee for the internship and learned absolutely nothing except how to cough blood at work while smelling Chinese people smoking inside the office.

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