WhatsApp warns BILLIONS of users over dangerous text message coming now

ABOUT 59% of people have received a message-based scam or know someone that has in the past year, according to WhatsApp.

WhatsApp users are being warned about a prolific 'friend in need' scam that could take your money.

WhatsApp is now in partnership with National Trading Standards to warn users about the scam and others like it.

The 'Stop. Think. Call' campaign is intended to educate people on what to do to avoid being taken advantage of by cyber criminals.

The idea is that you "Stop" before you respond to a suspicious message and make sure your two-factor authentication is turned on.

This can help keep your account more secure.

WhatsApp then wants you to "Think" about what the message is saying.

Does the person want money? Are they pressuring you?

Next, WhatsApp says you should "Call" the person messaging you to check it is actually them.

What is a 'friend in need' scam?

A scam like this involves cyber criminals hacking into the account of someone you know.

They will then message you or several people in your friend's contact list, hoping someone will respond.

The criminal may even read previous messages so they can imitate the correct tone to speak to you so suspicions aren't raised.

Many reasons may be given for why the person needs a loan.

This can range from the criminal pretending that your friend is stuck abroad and needs flight money or has been robbed.

If you do get asked for money in this way, pause and try and ring the friend.

They may say they can't speak to you right now but tell them you can't send money until you can confirm it's actually them.

The scammer may try and give off a sense of urgency or try and guilt trip you.

However, it's important to keep calm and ring the person or use a different method to confirm their identity.

Citizens Advice Scams Action has also warned about the 'friend in need' scam and is supporting the campaign.

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