An alert has been issued over a 'sophisticated' WhatsApp scam that hacks the accounts of those who fall for it.

Hackers have targeted thousands of profiles, telling users that their account needs to be verified.

The scam has prompted an urgent warning by cyber experts - who say that many people could be at risk of losing their accounts, and have their personal details stolen.

Banbury Cake:

What are the signs of a hack that users need to know?

The hacker will pose as a friend - saying they have accidentally sent over their authorisation code to you.

Users have been warned not to fall for this.

Experts say this is a trick to get your own login code - which in turn will give hackers access to your account, so they can send a text to your contacts and read all of your messages.

Where does the scam come from?

The new version of the scam comes from a user named the "WhatsApp Technical Team", where the hackers claim they are from WhatsApp.

The profile picture will feature their logo - and ask users to verify their identity by sending over their six-digit log-in code.

Again, do not trust this message.

What have cyber experts said?

WABetaInfo, a blog that specialises in WhatsApp, said: "This is fake. WhatsApp doesn't message you on WhatsApp.

"And if they do (for global announcements, but it's so rare), a green verified indicator is visible.

"WhatsApp never asks for your data or verification codes."

Banbury Cake:

How can users make sure they're protected against scammers?

  • DO NOT give your six-digit PIN number shouldn't be given to anyone.
  • To stay safe, set up two-factor authentication on your phone. That means even if someone gets access to yout six-digit number - then they will still need an extra password - which adds an extra layer of security for your private details.

How can two-factor authentication be set up on WhatsApp?

  • Open WhatsApp and click on 'Settings', then 'Account' and then 'Two-Step Verification'.
  • Users will see a message that says: "Enter a six-digit PIN which you'll be asked for when you register your phone number with WhatsApp."