Last week we wrote about a WhatsApp hoax that was spreading widely, warning people to look out for a cybersecurity catastrophe that simply wasn’t going to happen.

That was known as the Martinelli/Dance of the Pope hoax, and it claimed that two dangerous videos are about to come out that will hack or wipe out your phone so it can’t be fixed.

This week, there’s another WhatsApp hoax that suddenly started spreading, apparently forwarded in good faith by lots of worried users:

Straight from the City of London Police fraud team – Extremely sophisticated scam going about this morning. Definitely Danske bank customers but possibly all banks. You get a message saying a payment hasn’t been taken eg O2,Vodafone or EE [UK mobile providers] and to click here. As soon as you touch it the money is gone. They already have all your details and it’s the most advance scam the bank has ever seen. Pass this on to everyone. Please. This is from work this morning – they are being inundated with calls – thousands flying out of peoples accounts! Spread the word!

Before we look at the plausibility of this – spoiler alert: it’s somewhere between implausible and impossible, and it didn’t happen – let’s check the very first claim in the message.

Hoaxes of this sort often include what we call “claims to authority” – Martinelli/Dance of the Pope claimed that its story had been announced on BBC Radio, for example – that are there to add a veneer of credibility.

But here’s what the City of London Police tweeted a few hours ago:

Please be aware of false message currently being circulated

The City of London Police in turn link you to UK National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre’s ActionFraud website, where you will see that the “City of London Police hasn’t issued any alerts about fake messages from Danske Bank.”

So, please don’t spread this hoax – you’re just creating fear and uncertainty among any of your friends and family who might have received a text message recently.