A screenshot of the fake police bulletin circulating on WhatsApp.

KUCHING: Sarawak Police Commissioner Datuk Aidi Ismail has refuted claims on a WhatsApp chain message regarding the distribution of face masks as modus operandi to rob.

“The message is fake and not issued by the police,” he told New Sarawak Tribune today.

He advised the community to obtain verification from the nearest police station first before sharing the message.

“Do not easily believe things that go viral. The police never made a bulletin through WhatsApp.

“Any announcement from the police will be made through the media.

 “So far no report has been lodged on the occurrence of such incident in any districts throughout Sarawak,” he said.

The message, which has been circulating amongst WhatsApp groups, warns members of the public to not receive face masks from strangers.

It says that there are individuals who will go from house to house to distribute face masks under the instruction of the local government and will request them to try the masks on to see if they fit.

In the message, the face masks were allegedly said to have been laced with chemicals that will cause the wearer to fall unconscious, allowing them to be robbed.