Online scammers made a whopping RM18 million out of one of the most precious items during the COVID-19 pandemic - face masks.

According to Deputy Home Minister Ismail Mohamed Said, the losses were incurred during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period, which began on March 18.

"The scams became more rampant during the MCO period. Online scams involving the sale of face masks saw losses of up to RM18 million," Ismail was quoted telling Dewan Rakyat yesterday, reported the New Straits Times.

He added that five types of scams were prevalent during the MCO - promoting non-existent loans, Macau parcel scam, love scams, SMS scams, and online face mask scams were the most active of them all.

Not many of the culprits landed behind bars, Ismail noted, as in most cases, the identity of the scammer could not be identified, and in some cases, they operated from abroad.

Online scams, which fall under the commercial crime category, have always posed a headache to the authorities.

Last month, Ismail had told Parliament that the police are even considering adding this category in the national crime index.

This would enable the men in blue to give special focus to eradicate the menace, he reportedly said.

Last year, the police had said that an estimated RM2 billion is lost to online scams, annually.

Source: NST
Photo source: Bernama