FBI agents have issued a warning about a new scam targeting instant messaging applications, including Facebook Messenger.
The scam tries to trick users into opening a malicious URL that collects their personal data and login credentials for social networks, such as Facebook.
In an attempt to force people to open the suspicious URL, cyber criminals ask their targets a question: "Hey, I saw this video. Is not this you?
Although the original FBI warning highlighted Facebook Messenger as a particular platform of concern, this has been amended after the scam was found on other rival platforms.
It is not clear how many people have been affected by the latest scam, or how exactly cybercriminals are generating income.
However, the combinations of email addresses and passwords used to log on to popular social networks and websites are regularly sold on the dark web.
Scroll down to watch the video
The FBI has issued a warning about a scam that is using instant messaging applications, such as Facebook Messenger (stock)
The most common version of the scam highlighted by the Portland office of the FBI takes the user to a fraudulent website designed to resemble the Facebook login page.
The website is a forgery controlled by a scammer who can steal the data entered by users who mistakenly believe that they are entering their Facebook account.
If people use the same combination of email address and password on other websites, hackers can use the stolen data to log in to them as well.
This can allow criminals access to online banking, or frequent flyer miles.
Other forms of scam can have a more direct approach, taking users to a page that automatically collects their login credentials, warns the FBI.
According to the FBI staff member, they first witnessed the scam after a friend contacted them on Facebook Messenger.
"The message included a video link and said:" Hey, I saw this video. Is not you? ", Explained the FBI agent." I had suspicions, so I did not click on the link.
"The next day he contacted me outside the application and told me that the scammers had pirated their account and that they had not clicked on any of the links that were sent because they contained a computer virus."
Warning the public, the FBI said: "The best way to detect and avoid these scams is to avoid clicking on the links you receive from friends or family until you contact the sender outside the application to verify that he was the one who actually sent the message.
"If you are concerned about the legitimacy of a particular account, report it through Facebook."
MailOnline has approached Facebook to receive comments.
A scammer hacks a person's account and sends messages to individuals on their friends list by posing as them and tries to force the recipient to open a suspicious link. It could act as a way for hackers to obtain personal information, such as passwords (stock)
The FBI office in Portland issued a warning about the new popular scam and the intelligence agency highlighted Facebook Messenger in its warning, before updating the publication to confirm that the scam was frequent in another messaging application.
The scam was discovered in Facebook Messenger, but it is not exclusive to the firm based in Menlo Park and variants have been seen in a variety of instant messaging applications.
The latest warning follows a swath of frauds that have affected Facebook Mthe sister application of essenger WhatsApp.
Last month, a message of promises of free family passes circulated for the Paultons Theme Park, the home of Peppa Pig World.
The fans of Peppa Pig who mistakenly believed that the offer was genuine shared the scam with friends and family to try to get free tickets to the theme park, which is located in Hampshire, England.
The Peppa Pig World scam quickly spread through social media, forcing the Paultons theme park to talk about deception.
The park chiefs warned WhatsApp users not to share the malicious message with friends and, instead, delete the text immediately.
Paultons took to Twitter to fight rumors of free tickets.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU THINK IT HAS BEEN STAINED?
1. Communicate with the company or person who took your money; This could be unsuccessful if it is a scam, but it should be your first port of call.
2. If you bought something that costs £ 100 or more on a credit card, you can claim it under a little-known law: Section 75. Once you have paid using a credit card, the card provider and the retailer are locked in a legally binding contract, so if the retailer can not or will not reimburse you, you can raise the dispute with your card provider.
3. If you can not claim a refund of the money through Section 75, you can try using the chargeback scheme. It is a voluntary agreement from your debit or credit card provider to stay in your corner if something goes wrong.
4. Unfortunately, if you have transferred the money using sites such as Moneygram, Western Union or PayPal, you can not usually get your money back once you have delivered it.
Source: expert in saving money
After clicking on the link (in the image), users are taken to a site riddled with malicious software. The page, which is in no way affiliated with any legitimate ticket search site, asks users to enter personal information
Paultons took to Twitter to combat the circulating rumors. He published: "We have been aware of a possible scam that circulates on WhatsApp with respect to Paultons tickets, this is not a genuine offer nor is it affiliated in any way with Paultons Park, if you receive a message like this we urge you to eliminate it. & # 39;
He warned: "We have been informed of a possible scam that circulates on WhatsApp with respect to Paultons tickets.
This is not a genuine offer nor is it affiliated in any way with Paultons Park. If you receive a message like this, we ask you to delete it.
In June, a similar hoax was circling on WhatsApp, this time using the theme park Alton Towers based in Staffordshire as a ruse.
This version promotes five free passes for Alton Towers for people who clicked on the link and shared the message to 20 friends in the application.
The fake raffle claimed to be a celebration of the 110th birthday of the theme park.
Alton Towers urged people to avoid the fake raffle.
A spokesperson for the Staffordshire attraction said: "We are aware that an offer of tickets is being shared on social media sites that claim to be from Alton Towers Resort.
This is not a genuine offer, or in any way affiliated with Alton Towers.
"Measures are being taken to eliminate this offer and we urge guests not to share their personal data or send the offer to their contacts."
An "offer" of WhatsApp that says giving a free ticket to Alton Towers has been revealed as a scam by the theme park bosses. The fake raffle quickly went viral in the app, and users thought they needed to share the message with 20 friends to receive the free offer.
WHAT APPEARS THE WHATSAPP & # 39; S ALTON TOWERS SCAM SCAM?
There are a number of versions of the scam text, with some subtle differences.
Because the scam encourages users to forward malicious text to a friend, their contacts may change the content of the message.
However, a popular version of the fraudulent text says: & # 39; Alton Towers is giving away 5 free tickets to 500 families & # 39 ;.
Another variation says: & # 39; & # 39; We are giving 5 free passes to 500 families to celebrate our 110th birthday! & # 39;
After clicking on it, users must complete an online survey.
The malicious website then encourages visitors to send it to their friends within the chat application.
Users are encouraged to complete a brief fake survey (in the image) before sharing the link with 20 of their WhatsApp friends.