SINGAPORE: Text and audio messages circulating claiming there are people robbing residents under the pretext of distributing reusable masks as part of a new Government initiative are untrue, the police said in a Facebook post on Saturday (Apr 4).
The message claims that residents would be made to try on masks believed to be doused with chemicals which made them lose consciousness.
“This is untrue. The police have not received any report regarding such incidents," the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said. It added: "The police urge the public not to spread unsubstantiated information which may cause public alarm.”
CNA heard one such WhatsApp voice recording being circulated. In it, a woman claimed that her friend had encountered an unknown person at her door. That person attempted to hand over a mask, then tried to open the door to rob her friend, she said.
“The police take a very stern view against anyone who knowingly spreads false information to mislead the public and will not hesitate to take actions against such individuals,” SPF said.
There are currently no Government initiatives to distribute masks directly to households amid the ongoing COVID-19 situation in Singapore, police said. There are however plans for reusable masks to be given out at community centres and residents' committee centres from Apr 5 until Apr 12.
Several reports of scams relating to the coronavirus outbreak in Singapore have surfaced in recent weeks.
On Monday, the Prime Minister warned people that an email from someone impersonating him is making the rounds. The email asks for "contributions and thoughts" as Singapore tackles the spread of COVID-19. PM Lee said the matter has been reported to police.
The Ministry of Health last week also cautioned that scammers are using automated voice calls or impersonating its staff and COVID-19 contact tracing personnel.