Is This Ad for Scholarships at University of Toronto Legitimate?

A message circulating on Whatsapp claims that the University of Toronto is offering full scholarship opportunities for international students.

Background

The purported scholarship for undergraduates, masters and PhD students apparently includes fully paid tuition fees alongside benefits such as medical allowance, hostel accommodation and assured instant visa approval.

A link provided in the message leads us to a website that asks users for personal information such as your email address, country of origin, and full names before completing the first step of the application process. The second step includes questions about marital status and employment.

Once the user has clicked the link or keyed in their details, they could fall victim to phishing scams such as this one that was debunked by Piga Firimbi.

Verification

The scholarship opportunity is not available on University of Toronto’s official Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn pages. 

The website linked in the WhatsApp message is unofficial and rates as suspicious and a potential fake according to a Scam Adviser search here. A background check on the URL further reveals that it is not run by the University of Toronto. Instead, it is run by an anonymous party that chose to keep their details private. This is a red flag common with scams as all official websites, especially for institutions, often avail information concerning the parties behind the website.

The website is not in any way linked with the University of Toronto. University of Toronto runs an official website that is updated regularly with information on various scholarship programs.

According to the Canadian Embassy, all study permits from outside Canada take up to 12 weeks to be processed, not instantly as the WhatsApp message promises.

This is a common ploy used by scammers to lure internet users onto their website and swindle money or harvest their data.

Verdict

Claims that the University of Toronto is offering fully sponsored scholarships to students are FAKE. 

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Thomas Mukhwana

Thomas Mukhwana is a broadcast journalist and fact-checker. He is passionate about storytelling, sustainable development and policy in the African context.