Gems School Scam Alert! (Dec. 2018)

December 5, 2018

An ISR member reported the following SCAM on December 5, 2018

“I received two e-mails from scammers who present themselves like a GEMS school. They even tried to copy the GEMS website! Here is the scammer’s information as sent to me:

MUMTAZ NISSAR,
HOD – Recruitment/HR
DUBAI MODERN HIGH SCHOOL (DMHS)
(Part of the GEM Group of Schools)
Nad Al Sheba, Dubai-UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
TEL/FAX Number: +971 04 3263333-9
DIRECT TELEPHONE Number: +971 523 184491
Email: info@dmhsduae.com
Website: http://www.dmhsduae.com

The real website and the e-mail address are different. DON’T FALL FOR IT! The REAL school’s website is this one: http://www.gemsmodernacademy-dubai.com/

Here is a copy of the letter I received. I hope this helps teachers avoid this scam.”

 


Hired Without Even a Phone Call

June 21, 2018

   Hello ISR, I don’t know if this is a scam or the real deal. Days ago I received an email from a school in the UAE. The message, with attached teaching contract, informed me I had been approved for a teaching position. The email states: “There’s no need for an interview because your qualifications, as posted on a recruitment website, all check out.

   Accompanying the contract is a request for me to contact a specific UAE-based travel agent to start the Visa process. I did, and received a list of fees that must be paid so they can proceed with my relocating. I called the HR department (from the school’s website) and was told that this is the new procedure. They promised to refund all fees paid and said they’ve previously wasted a lot of money on processing work Visas, only to have the person not arrive. I have never before taken a position without an interview. What’s up with this? Do I believe their promises?

ISR Note: We searched the actual name of the school on Google and utilized their ‘Contact Us’ form in an effort to verify they are sending out Confirmation of Employment letters based solely on a candidate’s online resume. They have not responded to our request. 

We are unable to know: Is this a legitimate school or nothing more than a website designed to extract money from unuspecting candidates? As such, we have withheld the school name. We have, however,  posted the following correspondence received by the candidate, along with the country of location. If you are receiving such correspondences, proceed with caution!

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eMails from school to Candidate:

Name: (Candidate's name withheld)
Xyz School - U.A.E
Jun 3, 2018
Re: School Employment Contract

Dear ——

I am directed to inform you that the Board of Governors of the school have accepted and offered you an opportunity to work at Xyz School.

This is an Affirmation that your experience and qualifications were found successful and satisfactory to secure you the position. You require no telephone interview or further face-to-face interview.

Please find attached your Employment contract soft copy for your perusal and acceptance. Upon review and acceptance of this Contract Agreement Package, sign on the last page and send us the scanned copy of the Acceptance (last) Page.

As a new staff, you shall attend an orientation training Program for 7 days on arrival for work sign-on.

The orientation training program will avail you an opportunty to read and acquint [sic] with the school’s Mission Statement and Values, the staff handbook and your job description.

For the acquisition of your UAE Work/Residence Permit Papers to enable you to live and work in U.A.E., send the signed Copy of the Acceptance page to the Travel Agency by email. Also update us with the process between you and the Travel Agency in case of advice where necessary.

Ensure you provide them all required documents and fees promptly for the fastest process of securing the work permit papers.

Any Expenses you make in the process of registering your documents shall be refunded back to you immediately you [sic] submit your expenses report to us via email.

Be informed that once the process is completed your hard copies will be delivered to you through your postal address. Meanwhile, should you require more information, please feel free to contact us immediately.

Congratulations once more on your successful emergence!

Best Regards,

HR MANAGER


Mon, Jun 4

Dear —–

Please note that it remains our Official Policy that all Employees will incur the expenses for their Residence/Work Permits processing, as a proof of their seriousness and commitment to join our working team. The Company had to come up with this policy now, because, in the past, we have processed the Papers of Employees, who failed to turn up for work proper.

Also remember that any expense you make for the processing of your UAE Residence/Work Permit Papers shall be refunded back to you immediately you [sic] submit your expenses report/receipt to us via Email.

Meanwhile, I remind you that adequate arrangements has been made by us for your flight tickets, reimbursements and relocation allowances/benefits as soon as you complete the Processing of your Papers through the Travel Agency. 

Be guided accordingly, and do the needful!

Thanks 

 


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Scam Alert!

March 16, 2017

ISR has learned that CBIS, Collegiate British International School (UAE), is nothing more than a web site designed to extract money from unsuspecting teachers.

The business office at Deira International School (also in UAE) reports that the Collegiate British International School web site is a theft/clone of the Deira International School web site, with the addition of minor editing and modifications.

Collegiate British International School (fake school):  http://cbisfujairahuae.com/
Deira International School (authentic school):  http://www.disdubai.ae

Unsuspecting teachers who apply on line to teach at Collegiate British International School are offered jobs and soon thereafter asked for money to cover fees, visas, etc. This is a scam!

The Deira International School business office verifies this information and reports their legal department is working on the situation. You can find this information, and other scam alerts, on the Scams and Recruiting Alerts page at ISR.

Do you have experience with this school?
Are you aware of any other scams to report?
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Buying a Car Overseas Can Land You in Prison

May 28, 2015

debt-79929649-wordpressThe banking laws of many countries permit expats to finance cars and other large ticket items. What most expats don’t realize is this: When you take out a loan in a foreign country and then fail to pay it off in full, you may end up in prison.

It has been reported to ISR that more than one expat is now serving prison time for failure to repay a loan, reporting that their banker never disclosed the severity of the consequence associated with an inability to make timely payments and/or pay in full.

If you are planning to go into debt overseas, you definitely want to have assets available from friends/family to pay off your loan should it become necessary to leave the country. Some countries won’t allow you to depart the airport unless all debts are satisfied in advance. And be aware: Selling off the car you bought to pay the loan is not an option since you cannot sell the car until the loan is satisfied. Obviously, a situation like this adds an entirely new dimension to the sense of being trapped at a school you may wish to leave.

Of course, there’s also the scenario where an expat debtor pretends to be leaving on vacation and then never returns. Although this strategy sounds viable, it’s not advisable as such debt can follow you around the world. For example: The UAE is a signatory to the Riyadh Convention and as such has the right to enforce a judgment in all other signatory nations. Furthermore, banks in Dubai have successfully sold debts to collection agencies in the UK, and the UK-based agency then successfully sued the debtors in their own country with significant collection fees added!

A “pro tip” on the Qshield web site warns that expats leaving Qatar should contact their bank 2 days in advance of departure in order to ensure a banking fee has not been levied that could result in being detained at the airport. You thought you had closed out your bank account, paid off any debts, utilitity/phone bills, etc., only to find the bank levied a minuscule fee which suddenly surfaced at departure time. Imagine being detained at the airport in Qatar for a few cents you owe your bank!

In an article entitled The Dark Side of Dubai, Karen Andrews tells how her husband’s health deteriorated while overseas and during that period debts mounted. Karen’s husband had planned to use a “pay off” he was slated to receive upon leaving his employment to satisfy his debt. But he ended up getting far less “pay off” than his contract indicated. For this he was sentenced to one year in prison and Karen is living in her car until he gets out. Not surprisingly, it has been reported that expats are found sleeping in the airport and behind the sand dunes as debtors’ prison applies not only to car loans but to local credit cards, personal loans and co-signing a loan for someone else (such as a host-national friend).

It’s never a good idea to get in over your head financially, but when moving abroad debt has a way of sneaking up on us. If you must buy a car or another expensive item overseas, it is highly recommended you take advantage of the personal loans many schools make available to their teachers. Often these loans are interest free with very manageable payments proportioned for the length of your teaching contract. At the very least, try to get your school to co-sign should you deal directly with a bank.

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INDONESIA, Where International Teachers are imprisoned on insufficient evidence and convicted terrorists are set free for ‘good behavior’

April 30, 2015

  The high profile case of Jakarta International School teacher, Neil Bantleman, is a prime example of Indonesia’s current corrupt “legal” system and apparent growing disdain for Westerners. Without entering into a discussion of guilt or innocence in regards to the claim of child abuse, the trial of Neil Bantleman, if you can stretch your imagination to call it that, points to a judge and jury with an unobscured agenda: “Find him guilty!” even in the face of clear evidence to the contrary. See: Thirty-Things You Should Know About the JIS Case

  Neil Bantleman was ultimately sentenced to 10 years in prison on insufficient evidence for an alleged crime against the child of a parent now pursuing a $125-million lawsuit against Jakarta International School. This, after Indonesia released convicted terrorist Muhammad Cholili from prison on ‘good behavior.’ Even Cholili was surprised by his release. He had been convicted for helping to assemble more than 20 backpack and motorcycle bombs, some of which were used in the October, 2005 attacks in Bali, killing 20 people and leaving more than 120 others injured at the well-populated tourist areas of Kuta & Jimbaran Beach. He served less than half of his 18-year sentence.

  We are speechless. A foreign teacher is imprisoned for 10 years on inconclusive evidence and a known terrorist convicted of killing and maiming tourists is set free because he was behaving himself in prison? Based on this model, Bantleman should have already been freed. The question is, were deals cut in both cases? Is each case an example of a corrupt system where money in the right pocket gets the desired results? Is Indonesia sending a message that Westerners are not welcome? We all like to think it can’t happen to us…at least until it does. Comments?


Security Alert

August 14, 2014

caution-3-2576150ISR has reason to believe a disingenuous international school review web site has been created for the express purpose of misleading recruiting candidates and to entrap teachers who post Reviews. Read more…


WARNING!! Signs that Tell You Not to Take the Job

August 3, 2011

“Looking back on my interview, there were definite warning signs I should have heeded, not the least of which was the director dozing off intermittently. Okay…he was tired from the flight. Beyond that, the fact that the contract was not ready should have been a clear-cut indication to decline the job. Why hadn’t he taken 10 minutes to jot down everything he just offered me verbally? Was he making it up as he went along? Was there any validity to what he was promising?

I recall that during the interview the director said, ‘Our kids are great, just a bit chatty.’  Translation? The kids turned out to be completely in control and they knew it. But, I really should have been suspicious when the interview became a sales pitch, focusing on the beauty of the country and the wonderfully supportive school community. In reality, the school was a hot bed of gossip with powerful parents, an inept principal and a director shaking in his boots.

I broke contract at the end of the first year and was soon thereafter blackballed everywhere by the vindictive director and principal. Hindsight is 20/20 — I should have heeded the warning signs flashing in my head, but I needed the job and took it against my better judgment.”

Have YOU had a similar experience? Or were you astute enough to turn down the job? ISR invites you to contribute to  our Interview Warning Signs Blog and share insights and experiences. Teachers Keeping Each Other Informed is what ISR is All About!


Internet Pirates Extorting Thousands $$ from International Teaching Candidates

June 2, 2011

“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

Click Here to Read More & Blog this Topic


The Continued Importance to Research Before You Make a Commitment

December 31, 2010

There are fine International Schools in every country of the world. But when it comes to unscrupulous schools taking advantage of international educators, little has changed since International Schools Review first went on line in 2003.  Go to complete article.


Job Scams to Cheat International Teachers

August 16, 2009

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Dear ISR,

Please check out the following international job offer and warn teachers who read International Schools Review that it’s nothing more than a scam to fool teachers that want to teach abroad.

This job offer has been posted around on the internet for a school said to be located in Spain. The contact person goes by the name of Arnau Javier: umpireinternationalschool@gmail.com. The school Director is named as Philip Ordyka. He uses the email address: umpireintlschdirector@gmail.com

The process this ‘school’ uses to ‘hook’ unsuspecting international teachers and grab their money is to 1) gather information, 2) make a bogus offer to the teacher, and then 3) ask for some money for two months’ rent for an apartment at their location.

I am always wary of “international schools” who have no internet presence or mention on the internet at all, except for one employment offer. Thanks to a fellow ESL teacher who visited the address listed and could find NO school. It’s a good thing there is always someone out there who is looking after others.

Signed: Wary International Teacher

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Summer Vacation Dilemmas for International Educators

July 28, 2009

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When summer rolls around, all of us living and teaching overseas face the same dilemma: Do I travel for June, July and August, return to my home country, stay put, or embrace a combination of all three options? On the surface, this decision sounds like a problem half the world would love to face, but in reality the summer months can be stressful on both the psyche and the budget of international educators.

If the spirit moves you to stay put for the summer months, it would certainly be the most convenient and least expensive alternative. Living in a vibrant area with “beaucoup” culture could make this the ideal way to spend your vacation. Not so, if you’re in a cultural dead spot choked with traffic, pollution, heat, poor internet and high prices. Consider also that many schools supply housing and request teachers vacate for the summer months. Some schools even refuse to pay teachers’ housing during the summer, requiring them to find new digs at the end of the vacation or pay the rent out-of-pocket to keep the old place reserved. I’d avoid schools that fall into the last category.

When my family was new to the international teaching circuit we were eager to travel and explore. We spent one of our first summers overseas on the beach in the Dominican Republic. We rented a house next to the ocean and settled in for a relaxing vacation with the kids. Other summers we stopped on route to the United States, spending weeks exploring Thailand, Holland, Indonesia and other places of interest that fell in the general direction of home.

During Christmas and other extended vacations we almost always traveled within our host country and/or to surrounding countries of interest. And so, eventually the day came when we had seen lots of the world around us and ultimately longed to spend the summer months with family and friends back home. The problem was, we had nothing back home to return to. We had sold our house and cars ten years prior. For anyone that’s been on the circuit for many years this is can be a very real situation.

For a single teacher it’s easier to come up with a solution to being homeless. It’s far more convenient for one person to drop in on family and friends and stay for a while, but it’s not the same for a couple or a family like us with two teenagers. As much as our families back home loved and missed us it was just too much to expect aging parents to adapt to three months with four more people in the house. Experience tells me that the old saying “fish and houseguests begin to stink after three days” is probably true. Plus, living out of a suitcase for the summer is no joy, especially for a family.

Without a home base, returning to the States is expensive. We easily dropped 15K in one summer. Sounds unbelievable, but air fare for four, hotels, car rental, eating out, shopping sprees for kids’ school clothes and supplies, entertainment, gas, and it’s just endless, adding up fast at US prices. If you’re planning on returning home for the summer months you would do well to calculate your projected expenses and debit this from your gross income to get an idea of what you’ll end up with at the end of each year.

Eventually we bought another house in the States and our daughter has lived in it for the past 6 years while we continue on with our international teaching careers. With a place to go every summer, coming home is easy and far less expensive. We have our cars and a place to eat, sleep and call home. Of course owning a house you don’t live in can pose its own problems. But when summers roll around we’re glad we have it. Plus it’s appreciating in value year after year….well, maybe not recently but it will again.

What about You? How do you spend your summer vacations? Do you return to your home country, travel, visit friends or stay put in your current host country? Have you discovered a unique and novel way to spend your summers? Do you have some advice to share with the international teaching community on this topic? After all, summer comes every year for all of us.


Collecting Everything Due You in the UAE

May 31, 2009

money-bag1800487There have been a series of incidents where schools postponed paying teachers their final pay and severance until the last day of school. In fact, some schools even hold-off until teachers have returned to their country of origin to transfer funds. This practice has lead some teachers to never receive their money. In other words, the school stalls until it’s too late for teachers to have any recourse.  Read complete article .

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