We removed a bogus job ad from the ajarn.com job listings today for an international school in Bangkok. The job ad had unfortunately been on-line for several days and was offering attractive salaries of 50k plus. The scammer had gone to considerable trouble to make sure the job ad looked bona fide and even included the name of the actual person responsible for hiring teachers at the school.
A teacher very kindly contacted us after he applied for the job in question and was immediately told in an e-mail that his qualifications were sufficient for a position at the school. There was an application form attached to the e-mail, which at first glance looked quite impressive but I'm guessing had been 'stolen' from another school.
At the end of the application form, there was a short paragraph asking the applicant to transfer a 1,000 baht 'interview fee' in order to take the application process further. Bank transfer details were also given on the application form.
Fortunately the teacher who contacted us had been in Thailand for eight years and had never come across such an interview fee before. Simply put - it's a scam. It's quite a clever scam as well because it's a relatively small amount of money. I'm sure there are a good few teachers who might be conned into sending the cash with the promise of a 50K job at the end of it.
NEVER EVER send an interview fee to anyone requesting it. Please pass this on to as many people as you possibly can.
We are now in discussion to try and find ways to tighten up the school registration process through the ajarn.com website. We are well aware that the current system has its flaws. Anyone can register a school account with which to post job ads. All they need to provide is a school name, a contact person's name, a telephone number and a full postal address. In this day and age, it's clearly not enough.
One of the ideas we are thinking of introducing is to ask advertisers to scan and e-mail their school registration documents and perhaps other legal documents that only that school would have. Once we have received those documents, the school or advertiser can go ahead and post job ads. This is not something we want to do because it also puts 'hurdles' in front of the genuine advertisers, but we see little alternative at the moment.
There are probably a few of you out there thinking "why don't you just call the phone number when you receive a new school registration?" - and it's a fair point. But past experience has taught us that it's rarely a practical solution. Schools - even genuine advertisers - give incorrect contact names and you end up spending half the day being given the runaround on the telephone. Sadly, a lot of the genuine schools just don't take the time to complete the registration details accurately. Postal addresses are incomplete, telephone numbers are out of service, E-mail inboxes are full. I could go on.
For the time being - until we have a better school registration system in place - could I ask you guys to be extra vigilant and the moment you sense a job ad is bogus, please send us a quick e-mail as soon as you can. You could be saving a lot of teachers a lot of time and trouble.....and money.
If you are a Facebook user, don't forget that ajarn.com has a very vibrant Facebook page with a lot of links to news and articles that aren't included on the main website. It's also where we put any emergency announcements first.