We just completed a three month investigation of China’s largest expat portal that gets over 50,000 hits a week after a rash of “coincidences” of identity theft victims in China made us smell something foul. We had opened some fake accounts and applied for a variety of jobs at ECC only to discover that many of the ads we were applying for were simply fabricated. We will not divulge all our methods publicly but lets just say that when our investigator applied for job “A” she was never called for that specific job but was overwhelmed with spam emails and calls for a variety of other positions she never even applied for! However, if she did not cooperate with the callers who asked for passport scans without first identifying their company name and office location, she discovered that her resume at ECC was blocked from view. But new callers continued to call suggesting that someone at ECC was “redistributing” her resume – in violation of China’s privacy laws. In China this is no big deal although in other countries a law suit would be a certainty.
But then we received information from a former CTA member and a former employee of ECC, and after some conversations we were allowed to listen in to a conversation with a current ECC employee that clearly indicated resumes sent in confidence were being sold to unscreened third parties. Basically if you offered to buy resumes from this ECC employee for $100 each, they would be yours the following day. Because foreigners get so many job offers from various recruiters, they would never make the connection six months from now when they start getting credit card bills for purchases they never made that it could have anything to do with their brief encounter with ECC.
Because we previously investigated Head Hunter fraud in China (See http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/beijing/blog/scam-alert-headhunter-fraud/) back in 2012, we were not at all surprised by the fake ads used as “resume magnets” (Incredibly good jobs with higher than normal salaries and benefits fabricated as bait for foreign applicants). But we were surprised when a former ECC employee who admitted to being the “Answers” moderator on the popular website exposed the owner George Xu as being, shall we say, less than honorable and forthright, and willing to profit from paid ads accepted from known scam schools and agents at the China Daily Blog here:
Was this just a disgruntled former employee? After much debate and deliberation we believe that Craig aka “Traveler” at ECC let his conscience prevail and was maybe seeking redemption with the above articles, foe which he wins our respect. But some of us here like to play devil’s advocate and we said to ourselves, “What if this is all being done behind the owner’s back by some greedy employee?” But then we saw the following:
a) Online posts from a banned user “Tarzan” about 3 months ago pointing out the vulnerability of their classified ads http://answers.echinacities.com/node/218470
b) A year old post from another banned user “Pegasus” complaining about scam artists allowed to advertise at ECC http://answers.echinacities.com/node/115523
c) An email inquiry sent to George Xu personally from the CFTU more than a year old that he simply ignored
d) This post here reminding us that ECC previously had no issues with posting ads for wanted poachers who were selling highly-illegal bear bile, ivory, tiger penises, and rhino horns. http://annamiticus.com/tag/echinacities-com-rhino-horn/ After 10 days of public protests and threats of charges being filed ECC finally removed the disgusting ads http://annamiticus.com/2013/07/06/chinese-website-displays-adverts-for-rhino-horn-bear-bile/
All of this was a bit overwhelming and in our judgement, indicative of a criminal mindset that George apparently assumes he can get away with anything because of his wealth and guan xi in China. Frankly, we believe that President Xi Jinping would probably disagree with the arrogant disregard for both China and International law and we are seeking his opinion om this matter through appropriate channels.
The last bit of evidence that came our way was this “confidential” pm from ECC user “Zip” he/she sent to “Traveler” before it was revealed that Traveler was just one of many paid ECC users (aka “shills” aka “wumaos”)…
http://www.scam.com/showpost.php?p=1795540&postcount=6 (See the attachment in this post)
Although we ourselves enjoy reading many of the great and interesting articles found at Echinacities.com, we cannot condone their online posting policies of personal information nor the selling of same to third parties without the explicit consent of the job applicants. We have noticed the “terms and conditions” of ECC users has recently changed to protect ECC legally but we kept screen shots of what it said three months ago when we started our investigation. Because our investigation is still ongoing, we will not comment further at this time and you can just consider this part 1 of a series…
Whether you feel confident sending YOUR resume to ECC is up to you. We can only recommend that you think twice and highly sanitize your resume or even use a fake first name. So when you start getting a dozen emails and twice as many calls asking for the alias you created, you will know the score. In closing we remind you that nobody but the direct employer needs a scan of your passport, your actual photographs, and your “taxpayer identification number” and you should only provide it when you meet the HR staffer face to face in their office after they have made you a verifiable written job offer. Anyone can claim to be an HR staff member of any school or university over the phone or email. If you cannot call that school or university directly at the phone number published at their published website and hear the same voice on the line, you are being hustled. Stay tuned for more updates as they develop and remember… TIC!
P.S. We did try to warn you last year about these expat forums: https://chinascampatrol.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/china-expat-forums-friend-or-foe-either-way-a-conflict-of-interest-for-sure/
To fully understand how biased expats forums can be when it comes to the truth, read these links when you have some spare time…