Internet Pirates Extorting Thousands $$ from International Teaching Candidates

“Over the past several months, the International School of Stavanger, Norway has been challenged with a new and unpleasant phenomenon — being taken “virtual hostage” by internet pirates. We have learned some things along the way that may be of use to other school administrators, but equally importantly to international teaching candidates. “

“We do not seek sympathy by sharing the story, but rather seek to alert other schools and candidates. Schools may wish to consider how they will react if the same thing happens. The bad news for schools is while we are all vulnerable, there are few safeguards. But the good news for candidates is that by picking up some tips from what we have learned, they can potentially protect themselves from falling into the same trap.”  Here’s how candidates and schools can learn from our experience —

 by Dr. Linda M. Duevel,
Director/ International School of Stavanger, Norway

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12 thoughts on “Internet Pirates Extorting Thousands $$ from International Teaching Candidates

  1. Hi, I was reading this post and the whole story was similar to my experience. This case is a Chinese school. I applied with the following address I saw the ad in both an esl and translators website. I sent my CV and after a couple of weeks I had a skype interview. A week later, I was told my interview was successful and I should send passport copy and health status, which I did. I signed a pdf-formatted contract and then I was told to make a deposit to a bank account to guarantee my visa process. I explained I can’t transfer money from my country due to foreign currency restrictions. I later discover from the school website they don’t ask for deposits to applicants and sent an email to another address to verify the whole process. They kindly responded that the job offer is a scam. Obviously it became a disappointing and scary situation to me. Fortunately, I did not transfer money but they got my passport details. So I am a potential id theft victim. The problem continues as, once I discover the whole scam, I stopped communication and the individual continues sending emails asking for my family’s papers. I don’t know what to do. Falling for scams as lacking of experience in teaching abroad is not relevant, it is just lack of information about the subject.


  2. I applied with the email address [], and Marit Cromwell replied to me and very positive in letting me know that I was selected as one of their Teachers and exactly the same details as indicated by Dr. Linda Duevel, that in 3 days after receiving the said contract that i have to pay 470Euros processing fee, before they send me my airfare ticket and the working visa plus the 900 Euros payment for the free room provided to us but will be reimbursed after the orientation program. Honestly I got so excited seeing myself in the community, but after reading the contract had this feeling of i can’t explain what, I decided to check on the internet and here’s what I’ve got… Thanks God, Dr. Linda Duevel have created this blog for us to be aware… least I am relieved and would still want to share my experience with everyone…. to at least put a stop on this fraudsters.

    Jhoy Vargas


  3. Wow. . .this makes me sick to my stomach. . .if anyone doubted the capacity for evil that human beings have, this should cure them. While there are some noble souls out there, like the real director of this school, who took her time and energy to warn us all; there are also a plethora of thieves out there just waiting to devour our houses! It makes me not want to do anything but interview in person (which I know might be impractical given the distances we’re talking about). How incredibly sad this is. The old Latin saying, “Caveat Emptor” should be on everyone’s mind from now on, when dealing with situations like this. Thank you
    Dr. Duevel for your invaluable contribution to us all!


  4. i was contacted by the lady named Marit Cromwell who claimed to represent International School of Stavanger and asked me to email my documents. I received the information that I was approved and that I need to answer some of their interview questions. Plkease be aware that this is the scam job offer if you ever encouter a lady called Marit Cromwell. the lady uses the following email adressess: Marit Cromwell [];


    1. I have also been contacted by this “lady” just two days ago and the email she ‘s using is now:

      DO NOT REPLY!!! I’ve innocently sent my college certificates digitalised and I’m so regreting it!!!
      THIS IS A SCAM!!!
      I just got a confirmation email from the director of Stavanger’s International School confirming that they are not hiring, so don’t get deluted like I did.
      I am now worried about ID theft.
      Hope you get to read this first.


  5. The teachers who may (and I’m making a huge assumption here) likely for fall for scams like this are ones with little or no international teaching experience. Its important that this message gets out to as many teachers colleges as possible; especially the ones that have strong links with international schools. U Iowa, U of Toronto, Queens and some Aussie/NZ schools pop to mind.


  6. All the more reason to support Seach Associates, ISS, and others. Who needs this headache??? However, Good to know about the ridiculous scams out there. Shame on these people!! I feel sorry for the people who actually fall for these scams. Could you imagine showing up at a place and realizing you had been duped? Imagine! You sell your things and uproot your life only to be completely devastated. Awful!!


  7. I almost fell for a scam set up by two “gentlemen” in Spain. When I searched the provided school address I found a small house in the middle of a run-down residential street. But, when I searched the school’s name I found a very impressive institution. I decided to play along with the scam and see where it led. First I sent a resume. I removed all reference to college and put the name of a high-school as my only academic training. As I figured, they next sent me a letter of employment and a contract with a very funky symbol on it. I filled it out and sent it back. None of the information, including my name was factual. Next I was asked for money to cover the first and last month and deposit on an apartment. I was assured I would be reimbursed upon arrival. I didn’t send the money but said I did. A few days later I received an email that the money had not arrived. I insisted it had and asked them to go back and check another time. This went on a couple of times until I replied to one of the emails saying that I am surprised you are still on the streets as I contacted the police so they could intercept you at Western Union. That’s the last I heard of this group and I hope I put a good scare into them. There are some sorry excuses for human beings out there and it appears they have decided to become the scab on the international teaching community.


  8. I found this article interesting but the most important part is that Western Union is being used to faciliate this scam. Western Union is also the medium that is being used by scamers in England who post an email to your own address offering position for English Teachers for 4 year old girls and quote that both the husband and wife are working for national companies like Exxon Mobile and Barclays bank. If you bite and reply they then send photos of them with a beautiful little girl on their knee and pitures of a beautiful home. They say they are Greek and would like their little girl to learnb English. They offer a salary that is to good to believe and like this school scam if you reply they then ask for personal document and finally money to the Homeland Security on their letterhead. I know of at least two teachers in the middle east who have lost a lot of money and there must be more. BE CAREFUL AND REMEMBER THAT IF MONEY OR PERSONAL DOCUMENTS ARE REQUESTED DO NOT REPLY BUT DELETE OR REPLY AS I DID AND TELL THEM THEY WILL SOON BE IN JAIL. THAT STOPPED THEM EMAILING ME. Cheers Catherine


  9. This is an excellent article. To me, the only red-flag needed is when a school asks for money. It’s just like a movie producer asking for start-up money or a modeling agency asking you to pay for photos.


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