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Chinese scammers target EF parents

A social media post claiming all EF schools in China were about to close and asking parents to provide their bank account details went viral in June, according to English language publication That’s mags. 

The notice, dated July 15th, stated that, due to poor trading conditions, the company had “taken the difficult decision to close”. Students and their families were advised to contact an account on social media giant WeChat to arrange refunds. Many big language school chains, including Wall Street English and New Oriental, shut their language schools last year following a government ban on extracurricular English classes for under 16s. 

EF, which largely  operates through franchise branches, often in lower-tier cities not yet covered by the ban, has survived – and is still going strong. A notice on the Swedish-owned company’s official Chinese WeChat site made this clear on June 24th. Parents who had responded to the scammer’s post – which was headed by the company logo, but carried an incorrect company stamp, or chop – were advised to contact the police.  The Ministry of Public Security is said to be investigating.

Image courtesy of Markus Winkler from Pixabay
Melanie Butler
Melanie Butler
Melanie started teaching EFL in Iran in 1975. She worked for the BBC World Service, Pearson/Longman and MET magazine before taking over at the Gazette in 1987 and also launching Study Travel magazine. Educated in ten schools in seven countries, she speaks fluent French and Spanish and rather rusty Italian.
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