The Maldives Police Service (MPS) will launch an anti-scam centre to strengthen its fight against scams and fraud, it has revealed. This move comes as the country grapples with an alarming surge in cyber-enabled and other fraudulent activities.

During a recent Parliamentary Committee on National Security Services meeting, MPS disclosed details of its new strategic action plan, with combating scams topping the list of priorities. Police spokesperson Ahmed Shifan highlighted the urgency of addressing this issue, stating, “The loss of hard-earned savings due to scams is a major concern for the public.”

The proposed anti-scam centre aims to provide swift assistance to victims. Shifan assured police would respond promptly to calls, ensuring that victims would not be re-victimised. Officers will attend cases within 10 minutes with the centre’s establishment, thanks to collaboration with banks and real-time information sharing, he said.

Shifan also highlighted the challenge of retrieving crucial information from banks during investigations. “We often find that scammers swiftly empty victims’ bank accounts,” he explained. To streamline communication, the centre will involve direct participation from financial institutions.

Beyond national borders, the proposed centre will also engage relevant authorities in neighbouring countries. The police reported that over MVR 150 million was stolen through scams last year.