Lloyds Bank has issued an urgent warning to anybody who uses WhatsApp over a scam that has seen victims lose as much as £2,000 on average.

The number of WhatsApp scams in the past year has soared by 2,000% according to new research from the bank.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the total number fo such scams increased twenty fold.

Fraudulent criminals are using instant messaging apps regularly in an effort to dupe unsuspecting victims out of their cash.

The bank said victims are losing around £1,950 on average and issued a a stark warning over the scams, reports The Mirror.

Lloyds Bank issues guidance over WhatsApp scam costing victims £2,000

Lloyds Bank said messages from scammers can seem “very personal” with fraudsters often posing as close family including “mum” and “dad”.

A spokesperson for Lloyds Bank said: "The story they tell varies but most often they will claim that because it is a new phone, they don’t have access to their internet or mobile banking account, and therefore they need urgent help with paying a bill."

Fruad Prevention Director, Liz Ziegler shared guidance to anyone who thinks they are being targeted and what to look out for.

She said: “Organised criminal gangs are always inventing new ways to dupe people out of their hard-earned cash.

"The emergence of the WhatsApp scam over the last year shows the depths to which these heartless crooks are prepared to sink.

“This is a cruel scam which preys on someone’s love for their family and friends, and that natural instinct we all have to protect those closest to us. With fraud on the rise it’s vital that people are aware of the warning signs and how to stay safe.

"Never ever trust a message from an unknown number without first independently verifying the person’s identity, even if it claims to be from someone you know. Always insist on speaking to someone before sending any money.”