FACEBOOK accounts of people in Inverclyde are being hacked in a cash-snatching scam, police have warned.

Victims receive texts from the profiles of people who are on their 'friends' list, asking for money to help them out.

The pleas are received via the social network's Messenger app, giving the impression they are from a genuine source.

The scam has triggered an urgent warning from a senior local officer.

Chief Inspector Debbie Reilly, of Greenock police, said: "There have been a number of such incidents reported to us.

"It appears that increasingly people within Inverclyde are seeing messages from people whom they believe are Facebook friends.

"Accounts are being hacked and messages sent to everyone on a user's friends list, claiming to be in dire straits and in need of money quickly.

"It is a scam and people should not fall for it or transfer any money, no matter how genuine the message appears."

Victims of the con are supplied with a bank account number and sort code details.

Once the money is transferred it is immediately lost to the person who has been duped.

Ch Insp Reilly said: "We are advising people to make personal contact with their Facebook friend before taking any course of action."

Anyone who believes they may have fallen victim to the scam should alert the police by calling 101.