WhatsApp shutting down on 28th January? It’s a hoax

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
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@gcluley

WhatsAppI guess you can tell that a social messaging service has become popular with the masses when the hoaxes and chain letters begin to spread in fury.

In the past we’ve seen hoaxes that have spread claiming that WhatsApp will start charging for every message that is sent, and now another is doing the rounds claiming that the service will be shut down entirely on January 28th.

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. 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

On this occasion, the bogus warning tells you that you will be charged $25 (at least, I assume it’s dollars.. the chain letter doesn’t specify a currency) each month if you want to reactivate your WhatsApp account.

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Of course, it’s nonsense – and very similar wording to similar nuisance chain letters that have spread in the past on other social networks such as Facebook.

The intention of chain letters like this is to give whoever started it the cheap thrill of seeing it spread between as many people as possible, rather than to gain any financial benefit.

But, of course, even if it isn’t making any difference to your wallet passing on a bogus warning like this makes you look like a doofus, and simply clogs up your friends and families inboxes.

If you don’t like spam and are irritated by junk messages your best course of action is to delete any hoax warnings and educate your contacts to be more careful in future.


Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

2 comments on “WhatsApp shutting down on 28th January? It’s a hoax”

  1. Meme

    please note the hoax message of Whatsapp shutting down if the you do not send to 10 or more people is making rounds again.

  2. Spencer Courtis

    Thank you for your research on the matter – be blessed!

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