Users of the popular Whatsapp messaging app are being warned to be wary of any received messages claiming to be from the CEO of the company itself.
Several hoax messages have recently been going around on the cross-platform messaging app, which allows users to chat between iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone via an internet connection rather than using SMS. The first is a message that looks to be from the CEO of Whatsapp, who goes by the equally suspicious and quite hilarious name of Jim Balsamic – perhaps the hoaxers were thinking of ex-RIM CEO Jim Balsillie?
It reads: “Whatsapp is shutting down on 28th jan Message from Jim Balsamic (CEO of Whatsapp) we have had an over usage of user names on whatsapp Messenger. We are requesting all users to forward this message to their entire contact list. If you do not forward this message, we will take it as your account is invalid and it will be deleted within the next 48 hours.”
If users hadn’t picked up on the fact that the message was a hoax by now, it continues to sound more ludicrous:
“Please DO NOT ignore this message or whatsapp will no longer recognise your activation. If you wish to re-activate your account after it has been deleted, a charge of 25.00 will be added to your monthly bill. We are also aware of the issue involving the pictures updates not showing. We are working diligently at fixing this problem and it will be up and running as soon as possible. Thank you for your cooperation from the Whatsapp team”
It’s currently unclear how many Whatsapp users have fallen for the scam and have forwarded their contacts list on, though Whatsapp itself has posted a blog to warn users of the service. It also highlights another recent hoax message:
“WhatsApp is going to cost us money soon. The only way that it will stay free is if you are a frequent user i.e. you have at least 10 people you are chatting with. To become a frequent user send this message to 10 people who receive it (2 ticks) and your WhatsApp logo should turn Red to indicate a frequent user.”
The latter doesn’t seem to have any harmful intent whatsoever, and seems to only be a way to encourage people to use the service. The CEO hoax however seems to be designed to garner mobile numbers and contact information, which could in turn be used to scam money.