TEFL & TESOL Online Scams

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) has become a popular career choice for many people in recent years. As the demand for English language education continues to grow, so too does the demand for qualified TEFL teachers. Unfortunately, this has also led to an increase in TEFL scams.

In this article, we will explore the various types of TEFL scams that exist, the reasons behind their prevalence, and how you can avoid falling victim to them.

Introduction – What is a TEFL Scam?

A TEFL scam is any fraudulent activity that deceives people looking for TEFL jobs or courses. There are a variety of different scams that exist, each with its own unique characteristics. Some of the most common types of TEFL scams include fake TEFL courses, fake TEFL accreditation, TEFL & TESOL program job placements, affiliate marketing, fake TEFL & TESOL forum posts, fake job postings, fake schools or institutions, and misinformation spread by competing TEFL & TESOL programs.

Fake TEFL Courses

A typical TEFL scam involves fake TEFL courses. Scammers will create a fake website or social media page for a TEFL course. They will then offer the course at a discounted rate, often promising quick and easy certification. After paying for the course, the student receives a certificate that is either invalid or not recognized by employers. The internet is full of these fake TEFL courses.

These fake TEFL course, like fungal spores, began mushrooming when the pandemic began and when a lot of people were looking to obtain a TEFL certificate online. It’s actually quite rare for a company to offer a non-existent course because their scam will get found out quickly and their sam will be short-lived.

The biggest issue regarding fake TEFL courses is when a company creates a believable website and offers its TEFL courses for dirt-cheap prices. They often advertise on Groupon or Facebook.

The course advert will promise international TEFL & TESOL training for a fraction of the price for a Fully Accredited TEFL & TESOL course, and they seem yo have hundreds of satisfied customers- all posing with their TEFL certificate.

These courses are all either Accredited or Unaccredited (not Fully Accredited) and can be completed in just a few hours. You won’t learn anything useful or constructive about TEFL & TESOL from such low-quality courses and employers – both online and abroad – are clued up to these TEFL mill certificate courses, meaning that your dirt-cheap TEFL & TESOL will be laughed out of an interview by a seasoned job interviewer.

Trusted TEFL Reviews, one of the only independent TEFL & TESOL review websites, maintains a TEFL Course Directory. It is here where you can see whether a TEFL course is Fully Accredited, and it is also here that you can read verified customers’ reviews:

Fake TEFL Accreditation

Trusted TEFL Reviews now has 56 TEFL & TESOL programs listed on its website, together with verified customers’ reviews for each of the programs listed.

Out of those 56 programs, only seven are Fully Accredited.

The remained are either Accredited or Unaccredited, despite what the program might claim to the contrary, and the Accredited or Unaccredited programs are going to be the ones where the accreditation website promoted by the program was created by the program themselves.

It is essential that you choose a TEFL & TESOL course program that is Fully Accredited because a Fully Accredited certificate is recognized worldwide for all online and abroad teaching English jobs.

Trusted TEFL Reviews recognises these five Fully Accredited bodies:

  1. ACCET – Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training |
  2. ACTEFLC – Accreditation Council for Teaching English as a Foreign Language Courses |
  3. OISE – University of the Toronto Faculty of Education |
  4. TESL Canada |
  5. University of Cambridge’s English Language Assessment |

TEFL Online Pro is Fully Accredited by ACTEFLC – Accreditation Council for Teaching English as a Foreign Language Courses, and our TEFL & TESOL certificates are accepted worldwide for all online and abroad jobs.

The TEFL Accreditation Guide should be your go-to if you have any questions about the legitimacy of a TEFL & TESOL program’s accreditation claims:

TEFL & TESOL Program Job Placements

Some TEFL & TESOL programs create a USP by offering to place you in a job after completing their course.

In the vast majority of these cases, the program has financial agreements with the schools that it promotes as job placements to its graduates. This means that even if the job placement is advertised as free, the TEFL program will cream off a percentage of your monthly teaching income as a finders fee for connecting you with the job.

Some TEFL & TESOL programs are also not adverse, in the least, to offering you a tempting job placement and only to find that you ave been baited and switched when you arrive to the school and where the job is anything but what was advertised by the program.

There are so many teaching English jobs available and with not enough teachers to fill the vacancies that there is absolutely no need, whatsoever, to pay money or accept a free job placement. If you do, you will likely find yourself earning less than your peers and locked into a restrictive long-term teaching contract.

You should look for TEFL & TESOL programs that offer job assistance and job support.

TEFL Online Pro offers job assistance and job support services for free to all its graduates.

To date, we have a 100% record in helping our graduates find well-paid teaching work online and abroad.

The additional good news, is that this service from us is for the duration of your teaching English career.

We also help with getting your CV/resume up to scratch, and we also provide free information for visa rules and regulations for specific countries.

Our certificates can be notarized and legalized for all online and abroad teaching English jobs and for all job visa requirements:

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is the sword in the side of the TEFL & TESOL certification course marketplace.

Usually, a well-meaning person will make a deal with a TEFL & TESOL program to promote its courses on a blog or website that the affiliate marketer has created. In return, the affiliate marketer gets a cut of any course purchase.

We have noticed that some TEFL & TESOL programs heavily rely on affiliate marketing for their stream of new TEFL student customers.

The issue across the board is that the affiliate marketer is driven by promoting the program’s courses to as many people as possible, and by whatever means their moral bar allows them to do so.

The result is the more often than not, the affiliate market knows very little fo the program that they are promoting and all they care about is their affiliate’s money stream.

Some of the biggest TEFL information websites work on the affiliate marketing model.

They list courses that are worthless, but still advertise them because they stand to earn money from promoting these TEFL & TESOL scams.

Fake TEFL & TESOL Forum Posts

If you innocently ask about such and such a TEFL & TESOL program on a TEFL-related forum or community, chances are that the response back will be from a TEFL & TESOL program.

The thing about English teachers is that they are busy. They tend to spend their time planning lessons, teaching lessons, correcting tests, socialising with their students and friends, and, of course, taking time off at weekends and in the holidays to explore and recharge their batteries.

The majority of English teachers don’t have the time or inclination to be at the ready 24/7 to answer questions asked on forums about such and such a TEFL & TESOL program. The people that do have time, 24/7, to answer these questions and direct people to websites that they either own or affiliate with, are the affiliate marketers and the TEFL & TESOL program.

Fake Job Postings

One of the most common types of TEFL scams is fake job postings. Scammers will create a fake job posting on a legitimate job board or social media platform. These postings often promise high salaries and benefits, and require little to no experience. When applicants apply for the job, they are typically asked to pay a fee for a background check or visa processing. After paying the fee, the job never materializes.

This is why job assistance and job support services are so important.

When a graduate asks us whether a job posting is legit, we will do the legwork for you and let you know whether to proceed or run for the hills.

Fake Schools or Institutions

Another common type of TEFL scam involves fake schools or institutions. Scammers will create a fake website or social media page for a non-existent school or institution. They will then post job listings for English teachers, often promising high salaries and benefits. Applicants are typically required to pay a fee for a background check or visa processing. After paying the fee, the school or institution disappears, and the applicant is left with no job and no way to recover their money.

Never pay someone or a company to find you a job.

Again, this is why job assistance and job support services are so important.

Misinformation Spread by Competing TEFL & TESOL Programs

There are literally hundreds of TEFL & TESOL programs that offer teaching English training courses online.

It is a highly competitive, largely unregulated marketplace.

If a TEFL program sees that its competition is thriving, it is common practice for that TEFL program to write mud about its competing TEFL program online.

TEFL Online Pro is currently the top-rated TEFL & TESOL program, and we have won the Teachers’ Choice award in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.

In other words, we are a successful TEFL & TESOL certification program and with excellent customers’ reviews.

All it takes, is for a business competitor to spend a bit of time creating some online fiction about its business competitor – they have become professional at doing this – and a potential customer will question the authenticity of the program being attacked and will sometimes enroll in the course offered by the program spreading the misinformation.

We have had a lot of issues with a few TEFL programs over the years.

What has been our response?

It has been to name and shame these programs for spreading the misinformation:

Reasons Behind TEFL Scams

There are several reasons behind the prevalence of TEFL scams. One of the main reasons is the high demand for TEFL teachers. As the demand for English language education continues to grow, so too does the demand for qualified TEFL teachers. This high demand has created an environment where scammers can easily prey on unsuspecting job seekers and students.

Another reason behind the prevalence of TEFL scams is the lack of regulation in the industry. Unlike other professions, there is no governing body that regulates the TEFL industry. This lack of regulation has made it easy for scammers to create fake job postings, schools, and courses.

Finally, the globalization of the job market has made it easier for scammers to operate across borders. With the rise of the internet and social media, scammers can easily create fake websites and social media pages that appear legitimate to job seekers and students.

How to Avoid TEFL Scams

Before applying for a TEFL job or course, do your research. Check the legitimacy of the school or institution, and make sure they are Fully Accredited. Research the job market in the country you are interested in working in, and make sure you understand the requirements for working there. Check verified customers’ reviews to see if other people have had positive experiences with the school or institution.

For verified TEFL Online Pro Reviews, we recommend reading and viewing our customers’ feedback on our company’s Facebook page, on the independent TEFL reviews website Trusted TEFL Reviews, and on our company’s YouTube channel:

TEFL Online Pro reviews on Facebook:

TEFL Online Pro reviews on Trusted TEFL Reviews:

TEFL Online Pro reviews on YouTube:

TEFL Online Pro reviews on


TEFL scams are unfortunately prevalent in the industry, but there are ways to avoid falling victim to them. By doing your research, verifying job postings, using trusted TEFL reviews websites, and being skeptical of unusual payment methods, you can protect yourself from scams. Remember that if a job or course seems too good to be true, it probably is. Stick to legitimate schools, institutions, and courses, and you will be on your way to a rewarding and fulfilling career teaching English as a foreign language.

Where will you teach English?

For any unanswered questions, contact us via the TEFL Online Pro official school website:

Thank you for reading this TEFL & TESOL Online Scams article.

Paul Murphy | Operations Manager | TEFL Online Pro

The Teachers’ Choice Award winner in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022