A YouTuber and popular Facebook figure has been left ‘depressed and stressed’ after hackers scammed his social media followers out of hundreds of pounds.

John Bradbury, of Brierfield, first noticed his Facebook account had been taken over by hackers on January 7, when he was unable to log into his accounts.

Several of John's friends and followers have been targeted by the person or people who hacked into his accounts, with messages asking them to bank transfer money to purchase a product or to enter into a charity prize draw.

John has been metal detecting for over 30 years and has created a community on YouTube and Facebook with likeminded hobbyists.

Lancashire Telegraph: John Bradbury John Bradbury (Image: John Bradbury)

John said: “I’m absolutely distraught by this. It’s taken me three and a half years to build up a following and trust and now I’m losing subscribers on my accounts. My LinkedIn with 8,000 people on there has also been hacked.

“I’m really depressed by the whole thing. The hackers have passed my antivirus programme and disabled my computer by putting their own password in. The hackers have deleted my serial numbers to important programmes I use so I’m faced with a huge bill to reinstate everything which could be up to £1,000.”

John managed to make his followers aware of the fraudulent activity on his personal account warning people to not reply to the messages.

One of his followers sent a screenshot of the messages between John’s account and him. The person was asking John’s follower when he would be able to send the money for the prize draw.

They said: “Don’t send it to my PayPal account it has some issues so when you have it let me know when I will give you my bank details…If it converts to dollars mate send it that way.”

Another one of John’s Facebook followers received a message with a link. It said: “Just click on the link and send a message to the program agent that you would like to claim your winnings.”

John says his friends have been scammed out of £100 to £250 in exchange for products that don’t exist.

He added: “It’s cruel that people out there do this. It’s been a continuing nightmare, I’ve not been able to sleep because of this. All I want is for people to be aware of how vicious these scammers can be and for authorities to take this seriously.”

Superintendent Sanjay Andersen, Head of the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, stated: “One of the most important things that you can do to improve the security of your online accounts is having two-factor authentication enabled.

"Not only will it prevent hackers accessing your accounts even if they have your password, but it will also keep your valuable information out of the hands of criminals.”

Action Fraud advises users to be cautious of social media messages that ask for your login details or authentication codes, even if the message appears to be from someone you know.

If you have been hacked online, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk, or calling 0300 123 2040.

Facebook and Action Fraud have been approached for comments.