Rating: Jim Balsamic spoof migrates from BBM users
An unfortunate co-incidence appears to have affected some users of the popular IM (Instant Messaging) service – Whatsapp. At the same time as the service appeared to be experiencing slight problems with status messages, some clown sent out a spoof message (which we have reproduced below). Now the clue for us was the fact that the spoof included a message from one “Jim Balsamic” claiming to be CEO of Whatsapp.Here at GoMobile News we immediately spotted the name as a deliberate fake. The real CEO is Whatsapp co-founder, Jan Koum. Anyway, it seems that our spoofer(s) spotted an opportunity yesterday [November 29th 2012] when some users who went to their contacts book saw a system message saying ‘status unavailable’ or ‘ Status : error’.What an ideal opportunity to send out a spoof which threatens users that they will be thrown off the system unless they start forwarding the message to everyone in the contacts book.
Consequently, GoMobile News received the message reproduced below from a contact who was convinced it was true.
Curiously, our loan Motorola RAZRi was not suffering from the system error message – even though our contact demonstrated its existence on his Samsung GT-S5830 (Galaxy Ace).
The errror message has since disappeared. We’re not sure if there was an actual service fault because the problem seemed cured once the Samsung handset had received an update to the Whatsapp app from Google Play.
Our thanks to Pocketberry for its original story on a spoof message sent out to those using BBM on their RIM BlackBerries. This, too, had a reference to Jim Balsamic.
The site claims that Balsamic (a type of vinegar) sounds similar to (then) RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie when the spoof appeared back in January 2012.
GoMobile News has tracked evidence that the Balsamic spoof for Whatsapp first appeared in the wild again in early January 2012.
However, some-one had the idea of adding in the error message to make the whole thing look very real.
OK. Here’s the text. Please remember if you link to it to make sure you stress it is NOT REAL.
>>Hello everyone, it seems that all the warnings were real, the use of WhatsApp cost money from summer 2012. If you send this string to 18 different on your list, your icon will be blue and will be free for you. If you do not believe me see tomorrow at 6 pm ending WhatsApp and have to pay to open it, this is by law. This message is to inform all of our users, our servers have recently been very congested, so we are asking your help to solve this problem. We require our active users forwarded this message to each of the people in your contact list to confirm our active users using WhatsApp. If you do not send this message to all your contacts WhatsApp, then your account will remain inactive with the consequence of losing all their contacts.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”
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.
And check now the status of every individual contact is showing : – status: error.>>