Your daughter did not get in to KGS

Published: April 29, 2011
Email

Always verify any promotional offers and personalised invitations sent through SMS or letters from the concerned office by paying a visit in person.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine called me on the phone. He sounded extremely excited,

“My daughter got into Karachi Grammar School!”

I was surprised as the KGS office wasn’t supposed to announce results until April 29. Curious, I decided to investigate.

“Which grade?” I asked.

“Nursery,” was the reply.

“Who took the interview?”

“Oh, we were not interviewed at all.”

My friend explained that a distant relative had given him a registration form and he had taken his daughter for an admission test to the Marriot – where they were offered admission on the spot.

“There were close to 20 other applicants,” my friend told me.   “I’m supposed to pay one year’s tuition fee in advance.”

By this time I was sure my friend had been subjected to a major scam.

With scepticism, I asked:

“You said your daughter got into KGS but so far your correspondence has only been with a group of people at the Marriot – now, you plan to pay thousands in advance to the same group?”

He replied

“Yes, that’s correct.”

In his excitement my friend had not even bothered to visit the school for verification. I suggested he visit the campus.

But my friend did not take this advice well at all. After accusing me of being jealous he told me that he had complete confidence in the “admission” team. His daughter was smart – how dare I insinuate she wouldn’t get in to KGS?

I, however, did not have my friend’s trust. After going through the school’s website I decided to call the admission office.  No one had heard of a test being taken at Marriott for nursery level. This time when I told my friend to visit the campus – he listened.

Sure enough my friend discovered he had almost become victim to s Rs0.3 million fraudulent admission process. Later, we discovered that the team involved in the entire sceme had packed up and left for Canada.

As per my understanding, the modus operandi of these frauds is extremely discreet – parents belonging to lower middle income group are covertly approached, offered admission in premier educational institutes through a simple test. These tests are taken in a professional manner by engaging presentable and well spoken individuals, a top notch hotel suite is booked to lure victims to their trap and the time limit for submission of fee is kept minimum to force the parents into paying without doing too much homework.

Beware of scam artists:

  • Always verify any promotional offers and personalised invitations sent through SMS or letters from the concerned office.
  • Keep your eyes open. Report anything unusual to the concerned authorities.
  • The media is strong – report such matters to newspapers and electronic media.

Arsalan Faruqi

Arsalan Faruqi

An entrepreneur with a degree in computer engineering and an MBA from IBA Karachi. He tweets as @arsalanfaruqi (twitter.com/arsalanfaruqi)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.