Scholarship

  • UN not offering BSc, MSc, PhD scholarships as claimed in this Facebook post

    Claim: A sponsored Facebook post claims that the United Nations is offering fully funded BSc, MSc and PhD scholarships for international students to study in Canada, USA, Australia or Japan. 

    There is no relationship between the claim and the United Nations or any of its affiliate institutions. The post is, therefore, a SCAM to trap unsuspecting students yearning to study abroad. 

    Full Text

    A post which was boosted through a Facebook sponsored ad stated that the United Nations (UN) is offering fully funded BSc, MSc and PhD scholarships for international students to study in Canada, USA, Australia or Japan. 

    The copy of the e-flyer used for the promotion further claims that the scholarship covers full tuition, accommodation and health insurance. 

    It further emphasised that all nationalities are eligible to apply as there are no agents involved and the application process is easy. 

    With high tuition fees, a study abroad option is unaffordable for most Nigerians. 

    According to research by the International Institute of Education, the average cost of studying abroad in a foreign country hovers around $18,000 per semester, or $36,000 per full academic year.

    As a result, many Nigerian students are on International Scholarships for African students such as the Chevening Scholarship, Commonwealth Scholarship among others, to be able to achieve their study abroad dream.  

    Verification

    First, this fact-checker examined the Facebook Page which sponsored the claim, dubbed “Scholarship Portal,” and observed that it uses a profile picture that carries the UN logo and inscription boldly written, “UN Scholarships.” 

    Using the InVID verifier, a forensic examination of the image was undertaken and the result reveals a heavy double quantization (double JPEG image) that exposes the image manipulation and shows the doctored parts. 

    Furthermore, a google reverse image search did not associate the photo to the United Nations or any of its affiliate institutions. This is in addition to suspicious comments being posted on the page’s posts. 

    Verifying further, PRNigeria visited the official website of the United Nations and surfing through reveals that the UN has the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI)  initiative that aligns institutions of higher education with the United Nations in supporting and contributing to the realization of United Nations goals and mandates, including the promotion and protection of human rights, access to education, sustainability and conflict resolution with vibrant and diverse network of students, academics, scientists, researchers, think tanks, institutions of higher education, continuing education and educational associations in over 1400 member institutions in more than 147 countries that reach over 25 million people in the education and research sectors around the world. 

    Under this initiative, the only scholarship information listed under the ‘scholarship and contest’ page include: Nuclear Safety Essay Competition for Students and Early Career Professionals, United Nations Access to Space for All Initiative: Fellowship Programme for “Drop Tower Experiment Series (DropTES)”, “What if – Spesterra” Youth Video Challenge, 2021 Global Media Competition on Labour Migration, and the UCL Open: Environment Calls for Papers concerned with theme of water, none of which has a correlation with a graduate or postgraduate scholarship for study in any country. 

    Further google search engine verification reveals that the global body has a United Nations University which is the academic and research arm of the United Nations. Headquartered in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan, with diplomatic status as a U.N. institution and a mission to help resolve global issues related to human development and welfare through collaborative research and education.

    Under its Scholarships and Funding page, it states clearly that Scholarship opportunities vary for each degree programme and the procedure for benefitting from it is that requests must be submitted with the programme application documents. 

    Conclusion

    Forensic examination of images using cross-referencing, and examination of official channels reveals a lack of correlation between the claim and the UN or its affiliates. Based on this, it is concluded that the post is intended to trap unsuspecting students yearning to travel abroad and is therefore a SCAM. 

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2021 Kwame KariKari Fellowship partnership with PRNigeria to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

  • NO! Tetfund is not giving university students ₦30,000 grants as claimed

    Claim: WhatsApp message claims Tetfund is giving ₦30,000 grants to tertiary students

    Although the website portrays the real logo of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), it is not in any way related to the agency; it is a phishing site to scam unsuspecting members of the company, which means the claim is false.

    Full Text

    A viral message claiming a payment of ₦30,000 grants to Nigerian students is currently circulating on social media. The message is accompanied by a link to the registration website.

    According to the message: 

    “TETFUND has approved the payment of N30,000

    To all Students Across Nigeria

    This is part of 2021 budget to support all Nigerian students

    Registration Portal has been Opened and Payment has began

    Note: Check if you’re eligible to get N30,000

    Click below to visit the official disbursement site

    https://bit.ly/Tetfund-Grant

    Batch B payment has been completed. As Batch C payment and registration is ongoing now!

    Screenshot of the whatsApp message

    Verification

    Dubawa began its verification by clicking the link attached to the message and the search leads to a website with the URL tetfund.claimoffer.online with the TETFUND logo and a form to fill.

    The form consists of name, residential address, phone number, email address, date of birth, name of institution and matric number with a Yes or No button at the end just before the Apply now button.

    Screenshot of the application page

    However, without filling the form, the reporter clicked the ‘Apply Now’ button and it led to another page which asks questions like if the student is a Nigerian, the region the student is based, and what will the money be used for.

    Screenshot of the page

    After answering the questions, it brought a congratulatory message and some Facebook comments of purported beneficiaries writing good reviews about the grant scheme.

    comments of purported beneficiaries

    The congratulatory message also asked the reporter to do the following things before getting credited; 

    “Congratulations, you are eligible for the ₦30,000 TETFUND GRANT.

    How to get your ₦30,000 credited to your account

    1. Before you continue, click the green button “SHARE” and send this to 5 WhatsApp Groups (Only Groups) for other members to benefit from this.

    Screenshot of the page

    After sharing, an account number and bank name to receive the ₦30,000 was requested.

    Further findings show that the website is not related to the MDA responsible for tertiary education in the country as it does not have its URL extension ending with gov.ng like all MDAs of the Nigerian government. The original website of TETFUND is tetfund.gov.ng as its original website address.

    We further analysed the website using Whois, which is a query and response tool used for searching databases that store registered users and assignees of an internet resource such as domain name, IP address block and a wide range of other information.

    Whois.domaintools.com employed showed that the website’s main domain was claimoffer.net registered August 25, 2021 with a website title “Jumia 9ja shopping festival promo.”

    Screenshot of the page

    The current IP location is New Jersey, USA. The IP history shows that the IP address has been changed twice.

    Screenshot of the page

    The main website was also visited and it contains a message saying, “Deceptive site ahead.Attackers on claimoffer.online may trick you into doing something dangerous like installing software or revealing your personal information (for example, passwords, phone numbers, or credit cards”). 

    Screenshot of the site

    Conclusion

    Based on all information verification procedures by this fact-check including online search, social media check and website database profiling, all information gathered points to the fact that the viral message is a scam and a ploy to defraud unsuspecting students of tertiary institutions.

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the 2021 Kwame Karikari Fact-checking Fellowship partnership with Sobi 101.9 FM to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

  • University of Oslo not offering fully funded scholarship as claimed in viral WhatsApp message

    Claim: A viral WhatsApp message claims Oslo University is offering a fully funded scholarship to study free in Norway.

    This message is false and misleading. University of Oslo is not offering fully funded scholarships as claimed.

    Full Text

    Fraudulent websites offering fully funded scholarships to international students have become quite common and this is because fall admission season is upon us. 

    Dubawa has conducted fact checks on similar links offering fully funded scholarships to international students. In one case, Abu Dhabi University was said to be offering fully-funded scholarships while another that was fact checked claimed the Australian Government is giving out fully funded scholarships to international students to study at the University of Western Australia.

    The incessant strike in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions in recent times have resulted in students looking for greener pastures by studying abroad. Sadly, not all Nigerians can afford the huge fees and cost of living that studying abroad requires; some students have to rely on scholarships.

    Recently, a viral WhatsApp message claimed Norway is giving out fully funded scholarships to international students to study at Oslo University.

    It says the scholarship will cover full tuition fee, living allowance, accommodation, medical facilities, traveling allowance, unlimited work permit. The massage ended with a link, https://bit.ly/Norway-Scholarship-2021, where applicants can apply.

    “APPLY FOR NORWAY SCHOLARSHIP 2021, FULLY FUNDED SCHOLARSHIP TO STUDY FOR FREE IN OSLO UNIVERSITY.*

    *It takes a few seconds to apply. Dont miss this opportunity.*

    *Benfits of NORWAY 2021 scholarship Program.*

    *The scholarship will cover.*

    -Full Tuition Fee

    -Living Allowance

    -Acoomodation

    -Medical Facilities

    -Traveling Allowance

    -Unlimited Work Permit.

    *APPLY HERE*

    https://bit.ly/Norway-Scholarship-2021”

    A screenshot of the WhatsApp message

    Verification

    Dubawa first noticed that the message contained grammatical errors and irregular capitalisation of certain letters that compromised its authenticity. Benefit was spelt as ‘Benfit’ and accommodation’ was spelt as ‘acoommodation’.   

    After clicking the bit.ly link, the website was redirected to https://scholarsintel.online/Norway/. The new website has a welcome message which says “Study in Norway With Course of Your Choice For Free through-out The years of program. The Oslo University Scholarship Program Enables International Students to Study in Norway Comfortably and Free. Applicants are to fill the form bellow and click on Apply 👇👇👇.”

    A screenshot of the landing page the website

    The form requested applicants to fill in their full names, course, email address, country and also if they have applied before.

    Dubawa provided wrong information in order to access other pages and was led to another website.

    The new website reads: “CONGRATULATIONS

    “Your application for the on going NORWAY scholarship has been received.To proceed to next page where you will select universities of your choice. Answer the following three questions to acquire your immediately! [1]

    “[1] Answer the following three questions to Continue!

    1. What is Your Current Level Of Study?
    2. Choose Your Age Range?
    3.  Which State Are You Intrested In?
    A screenshot of the congratulatory message

    After answering the questions, a message popped up immediately, saying that the application “has been approved for free” and that the applicant should fill the visa application form below.

    Applicants are then asked to share the information with 15 friends or five groups in order to obtain the visa form.

    A screenshot of the page asking users to share information

    Also, an image with the caption “UIO: International Summer School University of Oslo” can be seen at the upper part of the page.

    A screenshot of the image

    Analysis using Domingdata, a web tool used to verify website ownership, revealed that the website has  IP geolocation of United States, California, Sun City and has several abuse reports.

    A screenshot of analysis using domingdata

    University of Oslo International Summer School

    The University of Oslo International Summer School usually offers a number of scholarships and grants but only through this website https://www.uio.no/english/studies/summerschool/admission/scholarships/ as opposed to the one in the viral WhatsApp message.

    For 2021, scholarships were only awarded to the Norwegian language summer courses (NORA) and the scholarship covers only the course fee. Also, the application ended in March 2021.

    Conclusion

    Findings have shown that the University of Oslo is not offering fully funded scholarships to International students. This message is false and misleading. 

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2021 Kwame KariKari Fellowship partnership with The Nigerian Tribune to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

  • Abu Dhabi University reacts to viral scholarship message

    In response to Dubawa’s enquiry, Abu Dhabi University has reacted to a viral message calling on Nigerians to embrace scholarship offers from the school.

    “Abu Dhabi University is not offering full scholarships for international students for any program”, Amit Sharma, Abu Dhabi University’s International Student Recruitment Manager replied Dubawa. 

    Dubawa had published a fact-check on July 1, 2021 which investigated a viral message that Abu Dhabi University, in the United Arab Emirates is offering fully-funded scholarships for students.

    The message claimed that Abu Dhabi University, Dubai, was offering free tuition, living allowance, accommodation, as well as medical, travel and stationery allowances for Nigerians to study any course of their choice in 2021.

    Dubawa’s verdict, after filling the fake application and checking the websites promoting the full scholarship claims, is that the information is false and misleading, and that Abu Dhabi University is not offering fully funded scholarships.

    Mr. Sharma confirmed Dubawa’s position by stating in his email that the viral message is “FAKE information” and urged Nigerians not to “fall for it”.

    Foreign education is highly valued in Nigeria, and it is also seen by many as avenues to migrate to more developed countries. Fraudsters are aware of the desire for foreign education (especially by those who cannot afford it) and they therefore create scholarship scams to prey on this desire. Dubawa has fact-checked such scams as it relates to general education and even Qur’anic/Islamic education

    Apart from full scholarship scams, fraudsters also sometimes publish disinformation claims about government institutions or philanthropists giving bursaries or grants to students and members of the public.

  • Abu Dhabi University not offering Fully-Funded Scholarships

    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.

    Full Text

    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.

    Verification

    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’.           

    Screenshot of the WhatsApp message 

    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.     

    Screenshot of the Welcome Page      

    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.

    Screenshot of the approval information

    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.

    Screenshot of the pop-up message mandating the sharing of the fake scholarship information.

    Below the message are the details of ‘fake followers’ confirming that they got the scholarship and that the process was real.

    Screenshot of the fake confirmations                     

    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.

    Information about sholarship.xyz from Domainbigdata

    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.

    Information from the IP address search for sholarship.xyz

    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

    Information about inksnation.xyz from domainbigdata

    An IP address search for inksnation.xyz also shows it has been reported for abuses, fraud, attacks and malware use.

    Information of IP address search for inksnation.xyz

    Conclusion

    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. 

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