IT notice: Fake scholarship scams

It is important for you to feel safe at McMaster and in Hamilton, and this includes protecting yourself from scams and phishing attempts. 

If you are contacted by a service or someone promising you a tuition discount or fake scholarship, it is a fraud.

Students at Canadian universities are increasingly being targeted by fake websites or services offering fake scholarships and tuition discounts or soliciting fraudulent application fees.

International students living in Canada can be vulnerable to frauds and scams because it can be difficult to recognize scams, and students are often worried that they will cause more trouble by asking for help. 

Fake websites and fake email addresses

While there are many variations of the scam, financial phishing scams typically start with some form of impersonation.  

The fraudsters typically create a fake website or free email address impersonating an executive or someone at the university.

Recent scams have used fake websites such as “universityname[.]wixsite[.]com” (with “universityname” replaced with the real name of the university) and other free website providers impersonating legitimate university websites.  

Students end up losing the money they paid to the fraudsters.

What you can do

We ask that students and the university community continue to be vigilant about these types of phishing scams and continue to report them.

For more information and how to protect yourself against these types of scams, please also visit The Importance of Protecting Yourself from Scams 

If you do come across one of these fraudulent websites, or receive a message, please report the message to, then delete the message. If you’d like to increase your cyber security awareness, there are a number of McMaster IT Security resources available, including: 

·        IT Security phishing resources 

·        IT security tips for students 

·        Cyber security tips for remote working 

·        IT security resources