Online Chinese job sites under fire for scams and expat identity theft

Published:  31 Mar at 6 PM
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For adventurous expats looking for employment, China is the new, cool kid on the block but is also a hub for fake job scams aimed at expat professionals as well as language teachers.

China is becoming ever more popular for expats looking for well-paying jobs in a totally unfamiliar and fascinating environment, but more and more online fake job advertisements are luring the unaware with offers which seem too good to refuse. Up until recently, scammers concentrated on ESL and TEFL-qualified language teachers, but a recent change has seen fake jobs being offered in upscale sectors such as finance and company management. On offer are high salaries, free, furnished apartments, travel expenses and full benefits.

The advertisements can be found online at craigslist, gumtrees and other popular expat forums, with each carrying dozens of new job offers on a daily basis. Once a ‘mark’ contacts the scammers, they offer a fake Skype interview with an equally fake Human Resources manager, after which the mark is told he will be getting an offer once a scan of his passport has been received.

An ‘official offer’ follows, together with a question as to whether tax on the salary should be paid at China’s 35 per cent rate or in the mark’s home country. Naturally, most would-be employees choose their home country’s lower tax rate and are then asked for their tax ID number. For those who haven’t smelt a very large rodent by this time, worse is to follow, as they’ll be invited to come to China and finalise the details.

Once in the country, a meet is set up by the scammers, who greet the mark with the bad news – that the AAA company who offered employment is now in a ‘hiring freeze’ due to South China Seas’ political tensions. Then comes the ‘good news’ – the scammers can offer a teaching job for 15,000 a month until the ‘freeze’ is over. Having reorganised their lives and paid out for a flight to China, most marks reluctantly take the teaching gig, without realising they’re signing up a full year rather than a few months.

It’s the same old story as in ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it isn’t true’ but this particular story has a sting in its tail. One applicant who decided to stay found, some six months later, his credit card had been fraudulently used to purchase $30,000s' worth of merchandise. He gave no personal details to anyone except the fake jobs scammers, a company called Laowai Career Center which, he’s now aware, is known to Chinese police for the same scam including identity theft under different company names.

Source: Shanghai Expat
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