A warning has been issued to Facebook users as friends’ accounts are being hacked by fraudsters trying to steal personal details.

Which?, the consumer guidance expert, has warned of several instances of the scam on the social media platform.

The scam begins with a message from a Facebook friend who has been hacked, usually a conversation starter, before they try to convince you that you’re talking to a friend.

They then tell you that they saw your name on a list for a National Community Grant (NCG) and tell you how to claim it.

Which? warn: “The fraudster will then ask you if you’ve received any money.

“They will say that they received a grant of tens of thousands of pounds, before sending you a link to make an application.

“If you click on a link provided by a scammer, this could result in malware being downloaded onto your device.

“You may also be taken to a dodgy website where you're asked to enter your personal details, which can be used to scam you now or at a later date.”

If you receive a similar Facebook message, you should ignore it and try to contact your friend using another method to let them know that their account has been hacked.

This is the advice Which? give to avoid having your account hacked:

  • Set strong and unique passwords for every website you create an account with.
  • Password-protect your devices (smartphone, tablet, laptop) as an extra layer of security if your device is stolen.
  • If you're using a shared computer, don't allow browsers or individual websites to remember your usernames or passwords.
  • Consider turning off 'auto complete' functions in your browser. These save your usernames, addresses and sometimes credit card details for when you visit retail stores online.