Children playing the world's most popular computer game are being preyed on by criminals trying to extort money out of them, Britain's police's have warned.

The UK police's fraud arm has warned that scammers are using Fortnite, an online multiplayer "shoot em up" game with 125 million players worldwide, to trick young players into handing over their parents' bank details.

Fortnite, which is certified as being suitable for children aged 12 and over, is set in a dystopian world where most of the Earth's population has suddenly disappeared, living tough conditions and zombie-like creatures to roam the Earth. Players are among the remaining 2 per cent whose job it is to survive and return the earth to normal.

The scam works by convincing players to leave the game and enter a third party website, where they can buy "free" online currency which they can use in the game to buy items like weapons and clothes. To "verify their account is real" players are asked to hand over bank details.

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Parents are now being urged to be vigilant in the run-up to Christmas and keep an eye on what their children are doing online.

Chief Inspector Paul Carroll, of the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, said: "Clearly you expect there to be more purchases of Fortnite over the Christmas period, it's the in thing for gamers. So it is certainly a time for parents to be vigilant and get their knowledge up to speed of what it entails.

"You have always got to question requests for personal financial information."

Many of the frauds came from children being tricked by scams on social media promisings free ways to get Fortnite's in-game currency, called V-Bucks.

V-Bucks can be bought with real money or earned playing the game and allow players to buy new items for their online Fortnite characters such as costumes, weapons or dance moves.

Since its release, Fortnite has become a huge hit with its free Battle Royale game, in which up to 100 people compete online in a last-man-standing shootout, especially popular.

The game's maker, Epic Games, recently revealed Fortnite now has more than 200 million players worldwide. The studio has previously warned players that online offers of free V-Bucks are not legitimate and not to participate in them.

Facebook and YouTube have since removed all the scam pages and videos found by the Sunday Telegraph.

A spokesman for YouTube said: "We use teams of highly trained content reviewers to determine whether videos violate our Community Guidelines and are committed to removing this offending content quickly."

Facebook declined to comment.