KUALA LUMPUR: Scammers exploiting the high demand for surgical gloves and face masks made off with almost RM121 million by offering non-existent supplies of the essential items since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.
Federal police commercial crimes investigations department (CCID) director Commissioner Datuk Zainuddin Yaacob said today that as of Sunday, 98 cases of such scams involving local and foreign victims and resulting in losses of RM120,799,941 were reported and are under investigations.
He said the syndicates had advertised the items at low prices, hoodwinking and luring buyers by using the names of prominent local glove manufacturers.
Zainuddin said buyers are then coaxed into making full payments, often amounting to millions of ringgit.
He said on receiving the payments, the scammers will go missing and are no longer reachable.
“The unusual demand for these essential items both locally and internationally has become an opportunity for scam syndicates to fleece interested buyers. This trend is on the rise. The syndicates which are led by Malaysians claim to deal in used gloves that are recycled but what they offered did not exist,“ he said.
Zainuddin said on Monday, the CCID carried out a number of operations here, in Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Johor where eight men and two women including a Mongolian were arrested for their alleged involvement in such scams.
He said police seized from the suspects cash, vehicles and documents among other items.
Zainuddin urged the public to be cautious when dealing with those who offer very low prices for gloves and face masks, ensuring any deal be carried out formally with due diligence.
He said those with information on scam activities should contact the CCID’s Scam Response Centre at 03-26101559 or 03-26101599.