Conundrum involving retrospective CN. police check, risk of identity theft...

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Hi guys,

I'd really appreciate your opinions on how to proceed.  I was in China 2016 to 2018, and really loved it.  However, I forgot to get a cert. of no criminal record done for my China time, before I left.  I've been back in the UK since, and am now enrolled on a course to get UK QTS (similar to a Teacher License) at a UK school, fully funded by a bursary.  It's a good opportunity, but they require a cert. of no criminal record to cover time abroad in last 10 years. 

The school has no ability to do anything official regarding chasing this up - it's up to me to use a 3rd party set up to get this done (my best Chinese contact seems too busy these days to do this for me).  I have found and made contact with the guy (P e t e, without the spaces) at Z h a o Z h a o . co.  His testimonials seem legit, and an internet trawl has uncovered posts on Reddit naming his as a good business to use.  Nevertheless, going down this route will involve sending scans of all my personal identity information, as well as current UK address. 

My long-term goal has always been to return to China.  Honestly speaking, there's a good chance I won't be able to survive this QTS course (I flunked a PGCE course attempt badly in 2015, couldn't keep up with the pace).  My back-up plan would be to go straight into into China job application mode, in that case. 

I'm worried about the idea of identity-theft from this police check application causing an issue down the line, screwing up a work permit / visa application for CN.  It's all about weighing up the good opportunity of doing this QTS course, vs. that....

Thing is, I really know nothing about the risk of identity theft from such a venture as this.  Do you guys think I'm being too cautious, or is getting a retrospective police check done by a 3rd party something you'd go along with, given the circumstances and opportunities? 

Many many thanks for your input

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Escaped Lunatic

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Rather than trusting some random person online, are you still in contact with any of your former colleagues or students?  Your former employer already has most of the personal info that would be needed.
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Yeh there is another contact I could chase up in China, who I might contact again today if the first contact still doesn't reply.  I'm actually willing to pay quite a bit for their time (would still be way less than the 500-ish USD for the agencies), but you know how it is with CN culture, they won't accept that kind of thing. 

School-wise it was the usual kind of scenario with laziness - they asked me to write my own reference at the end of the contract for them to just add a signature to.  I could perhaps see how a contact there would respond to pay offer.  Time is slightly against me, with just one month until the course starts. 

What are your thoughts on identity theft risks for people like us?


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Escaped Lunatic

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I'm always suspicious of someone with nothing more than an email address offering to do something involving large amounts of private info and cash.  He may or may not try to get you the no crime certificate once you've sent the money.  Whether he does or not, he may or may not decide to sell your info for more money.  If he is a bad person (cheats you or sells your personal info) and you post about it, all he has to do is get a new email address and arrange for a few fake "Wow, he's great!" posts somewhere to keep operating.

If none of your school colleagues will help (even for money), how about your students (or any friendly parents if you were teaching children)?  I wanted to surprise some people when I came to China the second time and a couple of my students were incredibly helpful in setting everything up (one even met me at the airport in Hong Kong).

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Your advice led me to pursue my original school in CN until someone agreed to follow it up, thanks.  She seems to be working on it.  I love what you said about former student meeting you in HK and you doing a surprise.  I often wondered how cool it would be to surprise friends in CN doing that

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Escaped Lunatic

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It was fun.  First, I crashed English corner.  Then I had one of the two who were in on the plan lure another very dear friend to dinner.

And then, due to a happy combination of events, I ended up moving to China permanently the next year.
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