You may deactivate anyone's WhatsApp account with a simple email

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 18, 2023

WhatsApp users who lose access to their phones may request a deactivation of their account. The entire process requires just an email and the phone number and it appears that WhatsApp is not using any other form of verification to make sure that they don't deactivate the accounts of third-parties.

Twitter user Jake Moore discovered that anyone may email WhatsApp to get an account deactivated. WhatsApp explains the workflow on its Help Center website. There, the Meta-owned company reveals the steps that users need to take to protect the Whatsapp account against access by others.

WhatsApp recommends that users contact their mobile provider to get the device's SIM card locked. This is a necessary step, as it will prevent third-parties from re-registering the account on the phone once it has been deactivated by WhatsApp.

WhatsApp will only reactivate accounts if they can receive SMS or phone calls; both options are unavailable if the SIM card is locked. Third-parties may still use WhatsApp on Wi-Fi though.

WhatsApp users have two choices to proceed at this stage according to the official FAQ. They may either get a new SIM card that has the same phone number to activate WhatsApp on a new device and regain access to the entire account, or they may email WhatsApp using the phrase Lost/Stolen: Please deactivate my account in the body of the email and a phone number in international format.

whatsapp request account deactivation

WhatsApp will deactivate the account. Deactivated accounts are still seen by contacts and contacts may still send messages to deactivated accounts. The account remains in deactivated state for 30 days after which it will be deleted automatically.

WhatsApp users who had their account deactivated or deactivated their account using the process may reactivate the account in the 30-days period to avoid automatic deletion.

Jake Moore noticed that WhatsApp is not verifying the identity of the owner when deactivating accounts. He mailed the linked email address from an email address not linked to a test account and WhatsApp did deactivate the account.

A quick test with a test account confirmed the process. WhatsApp is not verifying requests, but acting immediately when it receives deactivation requests.

Users do not receive information about the deactivation via SMS or other means to the linked phone number. While it is easy enough to re-register an account, once WhatsApp informs the owner of the account that they need to register the account, it could lead to account deletions if accounts are used only sporadically.

There is not really much that WhatsApp users may do to protect their accounts against deactivation or deletion, apart from checking in regularly.

You may deactivate anyone's WhatsApp account with a simple email
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You may deactivate anyone's WhatsApp account with a simple email
WhatsApp users who lose access to their phones may request a deactivation of their account, but so may anyone else.
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  1. VioletMoon said on July 18, 2023 at 4:20 pm

    Ahhh . . . the tranquil, azure waters of Berlengas Islands.

    Find My Device may be giving me false promises; theoretically, the phone can easily, remotely be erased. If, however, I can’t sign in to my account, for whatever reason, I don’t know.

    Do I remember a time when travel was all about not having technology, not having such worries, not having cameras [or three], not having anything but a few essentials in a duffle, a passport, and gone–fly away never to see a “screen” of any type or a door for the next four-six weeks.

  2. John G. said on July 18, 2023 at 3:17 pm

    Hi you all again after two weeks! I missed Ghacks really a lot! :D

    This nonsense about “fake security” with digital services is a complete shame nowadays. It’s completely weird that an account and/or service can be deactivated as easy as the article says. However here I give you all another weird demonstration of this “fake security” designed by dumb people: Yahoo Mail password can be bypassed easily as hell too, using obviously their “false security” procedures they offer. Here we go:

    1) 15 seconds of full access to the phone of the owner of the Yahoo Mail account is required.

    2) Go to Yahoo Mail site and enter the owner’s email address, then just click on the link “I forgot my password” and “send a SMS code to phone number xxxx” (Yahoo needs one email registration and one phone number, because it’s required for the two step security).

    3) You will receive the SMS code, copy the code, click next, change password, and that’s it all, you have gained full access to the poor Yahoo user mail account!

    How do I have discovered this? Because in my holidays in Portugal my girlfriend forgot her password and I helped her to access her account. We both were so worried about the danger if someone steal our phones to read our SMS ! Nowadays the smartphones are a really danger themselves, just use all the blocking methods you can to prevent using by strangers! :S

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