SCAMMERS are using increasingly cunning tactics to pry cash from the pockets of unsuspecting WhatsApp fans.
According to experts, crooks are employing a new form of attack that engages users of the US chat app by building a relationship with them.
WhatsApp has become a breeding ground for scam campaigns, which are sent to thousands of people every day in a bid to nab their banking details.
Attacks most commonly take the form of messages containing fake links or the promise of a cash prize.
However, according to a report from WhatsApp buffs at WABetaInfo, scammers are changing up their tactics as users grow wise to their methods.
It appears criminals are instead getting more personal with their messages by attempting to build a rapport with their victims before scamming them.
One message seen by WABetaInfo reads: "Sorry, who are you? I found you in my address book."
Another, similar scam message says: "Hello, I don't seem to know you, but I don't know why you are on my friend list, which is very strange."
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The texts are sent out to thousands of people. If the attackers get a response, they attempt to reel the victim in by gaining their trust.
"They are always nice with [sic] you because they want to gain your trust," wrote WABetaInfo, a site dedicated to everything WhatsApp.
"They start asking for simple details, for example, what your name and job are and how old you are, and they pay some compliments to make you feel good."
Once the attacker has gained your trust, they ask to be added as a friend on personal accounts such as Facebook and Instagram.
It's thought that they can use this information to blackmail you into sending them money or your bank details.
In some instances, scammers threaten to send compromising photos they may have managed to get hold of – or simply created using photo-editing software – to your friends and family unless you pay up.
WABetaInfo has some sage advice for anyone who finds themselves the target of a WhatsApp scam.
"You should always ignore unknown contacts and do not share private information such as your personal social account," they wrote.
"You can also report the contact to WhatsApp from their contact info, but you can also report specific messages."
This latest scam comes after users were also warned to watch out for messages from unknown numbers that claim to have come from friends or relatives.
According to UK scam watchdog Action Fraud, the tactic cost those affected almost £50,000 in total across dozens of cases reported last year.
Police are urging WhatsApp users to ignore requests for money from people using unknown numbers but claiming to be someone you know.
In its November 24 report, Action Fraud detailed how criminals are using the "friend in need" scam to fool people into parting with their hard-earned cash.
"Criminals will typically claim to be a family member and will usually begin the conversation with 'Hello Mum' or 'Hello Dad'," the group wrote.
"They will say that they are texting from a new mobile number as their phone was lost or damaged and will go on to ask for money to purchase a new phone, or claim that they need money urgently to pay a bill.
"The criminal will supply their bank details for payment, with some coming back with further demands for money.
"Criminals are successful in their approach as they are exploiting the emotional vulnerability of the public in an attempt to deceive victims."
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