Friday 23 December 2011

Am I too skeptical?

I sometimes think skepticism is a bit of a curse. The default position is NOT to trust a new idea until there is evidence. But then, without fail, I get a grip and remind myself that skepticism is the only safe route though life.

I saw a sponsored link on Facebook for Knowledge Edge Education that intrigued me. It claimed to "assist African students realise their dreams of of quality education", blah, blah, blah.

Their web site is very glossy but doesn't have quite the depth of authenticity I would have expected. The images are all clip art, mainly from Of course there's nothing wrong with using such images, we all use them, but when you couple this with some other facts it undermines your confidence a bit.
  • Their News Update page shows details of 4 scholarships, all of which expired many months ago.
  • Their Contact Us page gives phone numbers in both Nigeria and the UK. None of the Nigerian numbers appear to work.
  • Their address in the UK is an accommodation address, a"virtual office". This was set up, I suspect, using a company called Westbury who specialise in setting up these addresses and companies. The address they use (145-157 St John Street, London, United Kingdom EC1V 4PW) is actually above a betting shop in London (that's it, on the right).
  • They also give two addresses in Nigeria, but neither of them seem credible. 
  • Their web site is an almost perfect replica of the Scholars Trust site which even calls itself "Knowledge Edge" when you visit it. The Scholars Trust site was registered on 22 December 2010 by the same person who registered the Knowledge Edge site on 12 January 2011. Curiously the address and phone number given when registering both sites are the same as those of "Favour Catering Services" which claims to be based in Luton in the UK. However no company with that name is registered in the UK but it does seem to exist in Lagos.
  • There is a company registered in the UK as "Knowledge Edge Education Consulting Ltd", first registered on 7th February 2011. There's no trace of a company calling itself "Scholars Trust".
I must stress that I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with this company. It's just that a healthy skepticism and a little research can help guide your decision making. Particularly when someone wants your money.

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