Users of WhatsApp and other social media and messaging services in India and now Pakistan are reporting that they’re receiving warnings about the phone number 777888999. Some different versions of the message are floating around, but they have two things in common. One is the phone number 777888999, and the other is the warning that answering a call from that number could kill you or other people in some type of explosion.
WhatsApp users in Pakistan urged to forward the 777888999 message
A ValueWalk team member in Pakistan received this message from someone he knows via WhatsApp. He translates it thus:
“Please forward this to everyone, don’t pick up calls from 777888999 or there will be a blast.”
It’s unclear exactly what kind of blast this message is supposedly referring to, whether there will be a massive explosion somewhere or if the phone itself will supposedly explode. But for those who live in Pakistan where terrorist-related bombings are a regular occurrence, receiving a message such as this is even more alarming than it is for the average person.
But the good news is that you can relax. The messages seem to be a hoax, and even if you do happen to receive a call from that phone number (which is unlikely, given that it’s nine digits), you certainly don’t have to answer. Unfortunately, the nature of social media makes it very easy to make hoaxes such as this go viral very quickly.
777888999 hoax originated from India
Lots of people in Pakistan are now reporting that they’re receiving messages about this phone number 777888999, but the hoax appears to have struck social media users in India first. Some of the versions of this message received by social media users in India seem to suggest that the phone itself will explode if someone answers a phone call from the phone number. However, phone numbers in India don’t have nine digits.
Nagpur City Police tweeted that it’s nothing but a hoax and people shouldn’t believe it, so if you receive such a message, it’s best just to ignore and delete it rather than forwarding it on to terrify someone else who isn’t aware of the hoax.
— Nagpur City Police (@NagpurPolice) May 17, 2017