Police foil major face mask scam, warn about corona fraud

Photo: DutchNews.nl
Photo: DutchNews.nl

Dutch police have foiled an attempt to cheat hospitals out of millions of euros by selling them non-existent face masks.

The police were alerted to the case by an unnamed foreign bank shortly before the money was going to change hands because it had detected an ‘unusual financial transaction’.

Following further investigation, police searched the homes of two 27-year-olds from Dordrecht and found ‘digital data’ which is now being analysed. The two, a man and a woman, were arrested for attempted fraud and are currently in detention in Amsterdam.

‘They told the hospitals they were able to deliver a large shipment of face masks but wanted the money upfront,’ police spokesman Thomas Aling told RTL Nieuws.

Police said the two were out to profit from the current coronavirus crisis and that similar cases of fraud involving face masks have surfaced abroad. Cyber criminals are trying to profit from the situation and internet fraud and doorstep scamming will increase, police warned.

Police say they recommend a thorough check of companies and individuals who are offering, for instance, medical equipment, and to use regular ordering and payment methods.

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