The police have urged caution after reports that groups have been collecting Maldivian rufiyaa from people, promising to exchange it before fleeing with the money.
In a statement the police revealed that last lots of such cases filed in recent days.
Police said that common targets are people walking alone on the streets who are then approached regarding exchangin ruffiyaa for dollars.
Police also said that in some cases these people arrive on motorbikes and take their victims on the bike to silent areas of Malé.
Another tactic used has been to attempt to gain the trust of their victim by giving them a mobile number which, when checked by police often turn out to be sim cards taken in the name of expats.
Investigations in to this type of cases show the offenders to be well presented – most of the time tucks their shirt under their pants and a pen in their pocket – giving the appearance of someone who normally does money exchange, the police said.
The police appealed people not to trust unknown individuals when dealing with money and also to identify people using an official document.
An online businessman who spoke to Minivan News on condition of anonymity said that people do not go to the Bank of Maldives to get dollars because it is a difficult procedure.
“Each bank account registered at BML gets USD100 per day,’’ he said. ‘’But the thing is, to get that US$100 you have to join the queue at midnight and wait till the bank opens next morning.’’
He said that is the reason why people resort to easy methods such as buying dollars on the black market.
A BML media official told Minivan News that the bank has been giving out dollars to the customers as much as possible.
“If the person has a bank account and dollars in it we will release the dollars and there will be no limit,’’ he said. ‘’It also depends on which branch of BML the person is going to.’’
President Abdulla Yameen in his inauguration speech has warned the Maldivian economy is in “a deep pit” and has pledged to reduce state expenditure.
Meanwhile, the MMA has printed over MVR 1 billion (US$ 64,516,129) in the past year alone, MMA statistics show.
Governor of the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) Dr Fazeel Najeeb in August warned that “excessive” government expenditure was directly responsible for the pressure on the rufiyaa.
Speaking during a function to celebrate the third anniversary of the Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA), Dr Najeeb said: “The value of rufiyaa is dropping because government accounts do not have the money, because it is a necessity to print large quantities of money.”
Najeeb said that a long-term economic stability plan would be needed in the country as part of attempts to increase foreign investment, reduce inflation, and curb printing of the Maldivian rufiyaa in order to calm an increase in prices.
“The plan shall include new foreign investments, aim to reduce inflation, decrease the printing of money and cease it altogether. This will decrease the pressure on the rufiyaa”.
The state budget for 2014 remains stalled in the People’s Majlis with Finance Minister Abdulla Jihad as yet failing to submit revisions.