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Viber ‘Will Become Chargeable’ Hoax

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Circulating message claims that messaging service Viber will start charging you to send messages if you do not send the information to ten people to prove that you are an ‘avid user’. 

Brief Analysis

Viber is not set to start charging users for sending messages. The message is just a new version of an old hoax. It is derived from a very similar hoax message that claimed that WhatsApp would start charging users who did not send the warning to others. Sending on this nonsensical message will help nobody.

Example

Saturday morning viber will become chargeable. If you have at least 10 contacts send them this message. In this way we will see that you are an avid user and your logo will become blue () and will remain free. (As discussed in the paper today. Viber will cost 0.01€ per message. Send this message to 10 people. When you do the light will turn blue otherwise viber activate billing. Dont forget to send it back to me.

 

Detailed Analysis

According to a message that is being passed around by users of messaging app Viber, the service will become chargeable unless the same warning is sent to ten other people.

The message claims that, by sending the warning to ten people, you prove that you are an ‘avid user’ and will therefore not be required to pay a new per-message fee.

The message advises that, after you have sent the warning, Viber’s ‘light will turn blue’. Supposedly, this blue light indicates that billing has not been activated for your account.

However, the message is an absurd hoax. Viber is not set to start charging users for sending ordinary messages via its app. And, no company would ever be likely to force people to send on a silly message to prove that they are active users.

In fact, the message is just an amended version of another long-running hoax that claimed that messaging service WhatsApp would start charging if users did not send on a warning. As the following example reveals, the two hoaxes are almost identical except for the change in the name of the app:

Saturday morning whatsapp will become chargeable. If you have at least 10 contacts send them this message. In this way we will see that you are an avid user and your logo will become blue and will remain free. (As discussed in the paper today. Whatsapp will cost 0.01€ per message. Send this message to 10 people. When you do the light will turn blue otherwise whatsapp activate billing.

The WhatsApp hoax was in turn derived from much older hoaxes that have used the names of various other online services, including FacebookMSN, and Hotmail.  
All claim that users must pass on a message to prove that they are active users and thereby avoid fees or the termination of their account. This ruse is apparently quite effective because online pranksters have used it over and over again for years.

Any message that claims that you must send on a warning to a specified number of people to avoid service charges or keep your account active is certain to be a hoax.

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer