Claim: A viral WhatsApp message claims Abu Dhabi University, Dubai, is offering fully funded scholarships in 2021.
This message is false and misleading. Abu Dhabi University, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is not offering fully funded scholarships as claimed in the message.
Foreign education is highly valued in Nigeria, with the country topping the list of nations with the highest number of students in higher institutions in developed economies. Unfortunately, most Nigerian families cannot afford to pay huge tuition and living expenses for their children to study abroad. Thus, a good number of Nigerian students interested in studying abroad seek scholarships.
Dubawa received a viral text message (from different groups) claiming that Abu Dhabi University, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is offering fully funded scholarships that “will cover full tuition, living expenses, accommodation, medical facilities, travelling allowance and stationery allowance”. The message ended with the provision of a bit.ly link for applicants to apply for the scholarship.
A first level assessment of the message showed it contained several grammatical and spelling errors. The word ‘free’ was included in the title after noting that it was fully funded. ‘Benefit’ was spelt as ‘Benfit’ and ‘accommodation’ was spelt as ‘acoommodation’.
Dubawa clicked on the bit.ly link and the website changed to a new site . The new website has a welcome message which says “Study in Abu Dhabi with course of your choice for free through-out the years program”. Applicants are then asked to “fill the form bellow and click on Apply” (emphasis ours).
The form requested applicants to fill in their Full Names, Course, Phone Number, Email Address, Password, Confirm Password and also state whether this was their first application. It is important to note that there is no opportunity to create an account on the website, so some individuals may mistakenly input the passwords of their email addresses. That is why some websites usually put the disclaimer that form recipients should not input their email address passwords.
Dubawa filled in fake information to be able to proceed, this writer was led to another website. The new website congratulates the applicant, noting their application has been received and requesting them to answer some three questions quickly; their employment status, marital status and age range.
Applicants receive a pop up message immediately which says that they “have been approved to study in ABU DHABI UNIVERSITY” for free and they should fill their visa application form below.
Applicants are then requested to share the link with their friends and groups. When Dubawa tried to proceed without doing so, a pop-up message insisted applicants will not be able to proceed without sharing the message.
Below the message are the details of ‘fake followers’ confirming that they got the scholarship and that the process was real.
Who is Sholarship.xyz?
Dubawa further investigated the two websites, starting with Sholarship.xyz and discovered that the website was just days old (created on June 20, 2021) by an organisation which withheld its name. It’s IP address is located in the United States, California, while country of origin is Iceland.
An IP search for scholarship.xyz also shows that it is an open proxy website used by hackers and it has been reported for abuse, website attacks, hacking and fraud.
Who is inksnation.xyz?
Dubawa’s search for inksnation.xyz showed it is much older (5 months) as it was created on January 8, 2021. It was registered by an organisation that withheld its information. Country of Origin is Iceland but IP address is linked to California, United States, just like scholarship.xyz
An IP address search for inksnation.xyz also shows it has been reported for abuses, fraud, attacks and malware use.
The claim that Abu Dhabi University is giving out free scholarships in 2021 is false, misleading and mischievous. There is no legitimacy in the manner in which these websites seek to assess applicants for the purported scholarship, they are not linked to Abu Dhabi University, United Emirates, in any way and they have been reported for hacking, spams, malware and fraud.