WhatsApp users are at risk of being scammed by their own contacts, a tech expert has warned.

Throughout the pandemic, scams targeting the financial details of unsuspecting victims have been rife, with Royal Mail, HSBC and the NHS used to dupe people into handing over their details.

Now, fraudsters are posing as your friends, family and any other contacts you may have on the messaging device.

Tech expert Alexis Conran took to Twitter to warn people of the scam that “continues to catch people out”.

He posted a screengrab from a phone showing what the message will look like and said: "This is a WhatsApp scam that continues to catch people out.

"It starts with this text message that arrives on your phone out of the blue."

You will initially receive a normal text from WhatsApp before a WhatsApp message will appear from somebody in your contacts last.

It will read: "Hello, sorry I sent you a 6-digit code by SMS by mistake, can you transfer it to me please? It's urgent.”

Alexis explained what is happening if you receive a message like this.

He said: "What has actually happened is your friend's account has been hacked.

"Scammers are now trying to hack all their contacts. You are one of them.

"They are trying to set up a WhatsApp on a new device with your number.

"WhatsApp acknowledges this and sends a 6-digit authorisation code to your mobile phone by SMS.”

He added: "The scammers now try and get you to forward it to them by pretending to be a friend of yours."

Alexis warned his followers that if you do get caught off-guard and send on the code to your ‘contact’ then you account will be hacked too.

To keep your account safe from the scam, Alexis advised that all users turn on the 2-step verification system on their device if they haven’t already.

If you wish to inform the contact who sent you the scam message, Alexis advised contacting them via call or text rather than using WhatsApp.

This will allow your friend to “shut out the scammers” by being able to log out and turn on 2-steo verification.

Consumer website, Which? has also moved to warn WhatApp users of the scam through its scam alert service.