After I read about identity thieves posing as job recruiters in China asking for passport scans, I started being more careful about people contacting me out of the blue by email or Skype offering me jobs in China and telling me about great-paying jobs but insisting that I send them copies of my passport. So getting a little nervous, I started searching the internet and found a great way to avoid these sort of traps after my colleague shared this with me from something she read. Makes good sense to me. This is self-explanatory...
"Last May I attended a free 2 hour workshop at the Friendship Hotel hosted by the China Foreign Teachers Union and the topic was "Avoiding Scams And Working Safely In China." There were two guest speakers; a woman from SAFEA who was the director of one of the departments there, and a young guy from the Ministry of Education. His name was Bo. There was also a third speaker from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs scheduled for after the lunch break but I could not stay and it really doesn't matter now anyway.
Here is what I learn in the morning session about the five different ways to check out if any agent is legitimate (registered and licensed) and if they have a good reputation (even if they are not licensed - as most appear to be) BTW... This is only for Beijing. There are similar procedures and website for Shanghai and Guangzhou and they are listed on the CFTU's web site:
1) Visit Bldg. 5 of the Friendship Hotel complex (bring your passport or the guards will not let you go in). Go down the long corridor on the first floor until you pass the bathroom. The very next door opens into the international office of SAFEA and a woman named "Song" speaks English and will look up your recruiter in their system. She can tell you in five minutes if they are registered as a recruiter.
2) Go to the Tuanjiehu or Liangmaqiao subway station (line 10) and go just West of the Canadian International School you will find the government licensing building and on the first floor they have a reception desk for Chinese and one for foreigners. If you give them the CHINESE name or the license number of the recruiter, they will look them up and tell you in a few minutes if they are legitimate and how many complaints have been filed against them.
3) Visit this website with a Chinese friend and enter the license number of the recruiter http://www.saic.gov.cn/ and see what comes back and see if the addresses, names, and telephone numbers match.
4) Visit this link and see if you find the recruiter blacklisted. For them to be on this list, three or more people would have had to file a complaint within the last year that did not get resolved (no I don't know what "resolved" means - I forgot - sorry). http://www.chinaforeignteachersunion.org/2012/12/china-foreign-teachers-union-posts-esl.html
5) If you are in a hurry or to lazy to do all of the above, just send the agent the below letter and ask them to fill it out completely then it becomes much quicker easier to know who you are dealing with.