Top 4 Scams in Cambodia and How to Avoid Them

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and travel: The situation around the world is changing dramatically. Various governments have changed their travel warnings to restrict travel during this time. To understand how this may impact cover under your policy, please go to our FAQs and select your country of residence.

For the latest travel warnings and alerts around the world, read about lockdowns and border restrictions.

Scammers are common in Cambodia, so you need to be aware of what cons and dodgy operators are up to before you go.


Wat Ounalom At Sunset In Phnom Penh, Cambodia Photo © Getty Images/tbradford

Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Cambodia: Read the latest travel alerts to find out how COVID-19 restrictions may affect you.

While traveling in Southeast Asia, it's important to be on alert for anything that sounds too good to be true, as there are plenty of scams out there just waiting to trap unsuspecting tourists who aren't paying attention. Here are some of the scams to watch out for in Cambodia.

Tuk-tuk scams in Cambodia

The infamous tuk-tuk is a three wheeled vehicle, a little like a bike with a carriage on the back. Sometimes these vehicles are powered by an engine, and sometimes they're pedal power alone. They're the main form of transport around towns and cities. They're a common mode of transport at Angkor Wat, too.

Occasionally, as a tourist, you'll come across a driver who's on a commission to deliver you to a particular shop/temple/restaurant/hotel/bar. You might find yourself miles away from your intended destination, and being pressured to buy/consume/stay. 

That's not to say that you mustn't sample this traditional Asian transportation device if you really must, but try to do that safely, either by sharing with another tourist or travelling companion you know well, or by taking a trip along a route you'll recognise. That way you'll be able to spot the danger signs if you end up straying from the main drag.

Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the detour experience, but be very strict about not falling for the ruse.

4 common scams in Cambodia

You'll find that most con artists will be lurking in the packed streets of Phnom Penh or Siem Reap, where you might be too distracted by the chaos of the area to give much consideration to the people approaching you. However, by becoming a clued-up tourist with a keen eye for trouble, you'll stay one step ahead of the game.

So, be aware of these favourite scams, and Cambodia will be that delightful destination you want it to be.

1. The coin scam

Numismatics is the term for coin collecting, and this is one of the most popular (and thankfully, least harmful) scams in Cambodia. You might find yourself approached by a local who will likely be dressed quite smartly as you enjoy a drink in a local bar.

The ruse here is for him to convince you that he's a well-educated coin collector who is missing certain denominations from (surprise, surprise) whichever foreign currency you happen to have. After a little bit of persuasion, your new numismatist best friend will ask you for some of the denominations he needs to complete his collection in exchange for local currency.

The deal is that you'll get a straight swap without having to pay exchange fees as you would in a bank, so you'll be convinced that you're gaining out of helping someone with their hobby.

What you won't get of course, is a fair deal. Unless you're a regular traveler to Cambodia, and familiar with the Riel, you'll easily be duped into thinking you've got the same money back in return. Meanwhile, your local coin enthusiast will be rushing off to get his newly acquired Dollars or Pounds converted into something a bit more useful.

2. The bad cop/bad cop routine

With such a profoundly corrupt government as Cambodia's, the local cop might not be the friendly face in uniform that they would be back home. The officer who approaches you in a Cambodian street might not be a legitimate cop at all.

If you find yourself approached by a cop or two on the street, you may be asked to hand over your passport. If you haven't reported a crime to anyone, then the chances are they're not real officers and the likely result of handing over your passport will be a hefty fine to get it back.

The best advice is to always carry a photocopy of your passport as well and tell anyone asking that your passport is either at the hotel, or with the consulate.

If the cop presses the issue, or says he needs it to verify your identity, you can either offer him a copy or tell him you'll meet him at the consulate where he can view the real thing. Chances are you won't see him for dust after that.

3. The rape complaint

This is a particularly nasty one, and is usually targeted at lone male travelers.

The con artist in this case will be a group, but to begin with you'll just meet the "front" - a beautiful female who doesn't look as if she roams the streets hunting for unsuspecting prey. She'll look as if she has money of her own, which is all part of the ploy.

Cue a romantic relationship between the victim and the alluring temptress that may go on for several days, and will usually end up with a romantic rendezvous in your hotel room.

The next day her "brother" and followers will arrive on the scene, along with a teary eyed, and somewhat more dishevelled than when you last saw her temptress, accusing you of rape.

You won't be too surprised to learn that the only way to get yourself out of this mess is the production of your bank card and a brisk walk to the local ATM.

4. Help, they stole my wallet!

This scam is by far the most popular in Cambodia, and usually occurs when travelers stay at the same hotel, or frequent the same bar over a period of time. While there's little personal danger involved here, it's still a particularly unpleasant experience to fall foul of because it involves an element of trust.

The con artist in this case will be a fellow traveler, out enjoying the sights of wonderful Cambodia. He'll be from the same country as you, and probably speak your native language with a passable accent. Over a few days he'll get to know you, maybe even buy you a drink, and certainly share stories of his travels with you, even though it's doubtful that he'll ever have been to the places he mentions.

You'll be sitting at the bar one day when your fellow traveler will come in looking a little upset, and he'll announce that he's just had his bag stolen, along with his wallet, his passport, and anything else he can think of. Once he's got you sympathising with him, he'll ask you for a loan of a reasonably large amount of your native currency so that he can get to the consulate and pay for a new passport, as well as pay his hotel bill which he's just been presented with. Of course, he'll swear to pay you back once the consulate arranges the transfer of money for him.

Now, this one is a particularly difficult scam, because you'll have built up a friendship and you really won't want to let him down. But think about it seriously. The best way out of this is to either apologise and say you've run out of money yourself until more comes through from home or, if you want to test the validity of his claim, offer to take him to the consulate yourself. Either way, don't hand over any money - you just won't see it again.

Other tips to avoid scams

English is the world's most common language, so you'll probably find that most people who approach you will automatically start talking to you in English.

It's tempting to talk back, especially if you're asked a question. But beware, the criminals and con artists know this too, and engaging one of them in conversation is like offering a shortcut to your bank card.

Once the scammer thinks they have made a connection, they are unlikely to leave you alone, and where one scammer shows an interest, others will follow.

To avoid this situation, definitely don't answer any questions that could cause you further problems, so if you're asked where you're staying in Phnom Penh, for example, announcing your hotel and room number is probably ill advised.

If you suspect you might be being scammed, and if you can keep a straight face, pretend you don't speak English. It's amazing how quickly you'll be left alone by petty criminals if they can't communicate with you. This works particularly well for travelers who speak at least one other language – unless that language happens to be Khmer of course.

Get a travel insurance quote for Cambodia

You can buy at home or while traveling, and claim online from anywhere in the world. With 150+ adventure activities covered and 24/7 emergency assistance.

Related articles

Travel Insurance

Simple and flexible travel insurance

You can buy at home or while traveling, and claim online from anywhere in the world. With 150+ adventure activities covered and 24/7 emergency assistance.

Get a quote


  • Philippe said

    (This is an abbreviated version of the event). This is a scam which I stupidly fell for and that is one where 2 friendly fat girls ask you to come and give their other sister some information on the country you live in as she is interested to move there. I went there to help as I had a bit of time on my hand. I met their "uncle" who said he had a fail safe way to win at the casino as he was a croupier at a casino. At his home, I ended up placing bets on his behalf with his money of which he ran out, he begged and promised he would give it back after the final bet, he was the best con man I have ever seen and must admit I was the biggest dipstick for falling for this but I helped him out with mine and I finally lost a fair amount of money. I went to the Embassy but the only way I could do something about this was to go to the police. But unfortunately the police is so corrupt that I couldn't take that chance. So if some jolly fat girls talk to you, talk but don't go out of your way to help.


  • Ryan said

    to add to Phillipe's comment there is also a scam i was approached with by a friendly phillipino guy. He asked where I came from when I replies with the state in the US which is Massachusetts he immediately and excitedly said BOSTON!!!! to which i said yes! He goes on to tell me how his sister is going to be a nurse there and is leaving next month for the job. His sister is nervous as well as mom and wants me to go meet with them to talk to them and tell them about my city. I luckily declined as I am pretty wary of over friendly and smooth talkers. At that point he called his sister on the phone and had me talk to the sister and she also tried to get me to come speak to them in person. I said I cant I have an appointment to get to even though they told me their house was only 5 min away. He asked me if i kept my passport in my front pocket I think because he say close to me and i had my hand on my pocket the whole time. Strange question I still dont know why he asked it. I walked away and said bye and he all the sudden sounded like dissapointed in a weird way. I thought something was fishy to be so nice and then be disappointed in the way that he was. I walked away from him 100 meters then to the street. A tuk tuk pulled up to me and told me how lucky I was that I did not go with him. I said what do you mean, He said did that man tell you he was from the phillipines and his sister is going to your home country to work and ask you to go talk to her about it. I said ya and he said well he was planning to take you somewhere where a group of people are waiting with weapons, they take your passport and force you to withdraw $1000 from your bank account. I was told by the tuk tuk driver that it happened to someone last week and to never trust anyone here.

    Then the tuk tuk driver told me he was a night teacher for a local orphanage. He asked me if I wanted a ride to go see the orphanage. I dont know if the tuk tuk was phase 2 of the plan or just a really nice guy. I thought it was weird he knew the exact details of the scam he may have tried to build up immense trust with me by telling me this in order to get me to go with him. Or maybe the knowledge of what almost happened to me put a little paranoia in me. In either case dont go with a local for any reason. They may seem like great people but in the end its just not worth it.


  • igna89 said

    Just to add philippe's comment thati had one fat girl and one "shy" (that late we had to.act as a couple). I consider myself intelligent on this things but i didnt realize until just before giving my money. I"only" lost 120$ but they expect me to appear tomorrow to keep with the poker game... so sad because youloose all that you have in cash and they ask for credit card of course.


  • Ryan said

    Worst Scam of all is the ‘Milk to feed my Baby scam’
    I have heard of this every time I come to Cambodia but until tonight I was a bit unsure and always felt bad when I said NO to a mother or little girl holding a baby. But after tonight, when I saw one girl (about 8 years old) convince 3 seperate tourists to spend over $200 USD on Baby formular within 2 hrs, then go back in to the same shop, sell it back to the shop and walk out and give the money to an older man I am convinced of how bad this scam is.
    It plays on your kindness and the worst part of this is that the kindest people are the ones supporting the criminals.
    It gets worse, a friend who works for an NGO told me that the babies used are often actually stolen or bought from poor families and if the baby is lucky it will be given to an orphanage when it is too big to play its part.
    Soo frustrated right now….
    I hope this helps anyone with there decision to not give to those who don’t deserve it.


  • Nomad Capitalist said

    I would argue that the cops in Cambodia - or much of Southeast Asia - aren't bad at all. The police in the US are really bad by comparison, in my opinion. The western world has become a police state beyond compare.

    In one month in Phnom Penh, I ran into one foreigner who had ever gotten popped while riding their motorbike. The cop got $3 from her, and she moved on. Granted, she felt "ripped off" and was upset about it, but it sounds a lot better to me than getting a $600 ticket for driving in the HOV lane in California and having to go to traffic school or have your insurance rates jacked up.

    Consider that $3 a tax that you're not paying otherwise.

    It's true there are scams in Cambodia, but to me, the legal ways of doing things at home are a lot more scammy. I didn't have any problems in Cambodia and I think you'd have to do a lot more there than you would at home to get in trouble. Just don't do anything bad...

    Now buying coins is a whole other story. Don't do it.


  • Ironico said

    My story.
    This guy (he told me to be Malaysian) stopped me on the street: "Where are you from?"
    "My daughter is going to study there, come to my house so you can give her some advices!"
    "Ehm... ask her to come here"
    "No no, I live close to here we go with a motorbike"
    "Ok, but I don't have money to pay the driver"
    A motorbike driver came and he drove us at his house (in the meanwhile he asked me everything about me and he told me all his story, he was engineer, daughters, blah blah blah.)
    So we arrived at his place and a fat old man was sitting waiting for me. The other guy sit on a side and never spoke again. The fat man started to ask me EVERYTHING: where I come from, job, how long I will stay here, family etc.
    After 3 min he told me he works in a casino here in Phnom Penh and he knows all the tricks and since it was his day off he offered to teach me all the tricks so I can win at gambling.
    I taught "I brought myself in a big s**t" :(
    Then I told him "no, I'm not interested in gambling, I don't play. Anyway (to the other guy), where's your daughter?"
    "She's at manicure and then hairdresser, she'll be back at 5" (It was 2 pm)
    "Ehm, I have to go at 2.30..."
    "Ok no problem the driver will bring you back to the market"
    So the driver was still there waiting and he bring me back with the first guy at the market. The guy haven't spoke any word since.
    "2 dollars"
    "Give him $3 because he waited out of the house"
    I gave him for not being in trouble.
    I think I've been lucky (and stupid) :)


  • Jim Plamondon said

    A year in Thailand (Chiang Mai), never scammed. Quite the contrary!
    - My motorcycle broke down in rural Thailand (Ban Chang), and it seemed the entire town rushed to my aid. They arranged home-stay accommodation & food and the diagnosis and repair of my motorcycle, all at super-low rates even by rural Thailand's low price standards. They also tried to marry me off to their various divorced/widowed/single female relatives, but that was fun, too. Great people.
    - Months later, in a rural Thai border town (Chong Chom), I accidentally left my Australian passport in a rural hotel. It took me a couple of weeks to realize (a) that I'd misplaced my passport, and (b) where I'd left it. I visited the hotel, they recognized me, and said "We have your passport!" before I'd even asked.

    My advice: Get out of the big cities and get out into the countryside. The tourist density is so much lower in the countryside that scammers can't make a living, so the natural friendliness of people everywhere can be experienced untainted.

    I'd give exactly the same advice to foreign tourists visiting the USA, by the way. Don't bother seeing the big cities. Go straight to the countryside. Skip Las Vegas; go to the Grand Canyon. Skip San Francisco; go to Yosemite. Skip New York City; go to the Erie Canal. Skip Chicago; take a steamboat down the Mississippi. In just about any country, the countryside is cheaper, friendlier, and the very opposite of scammy.


  • Peter said

    So I had the scooter scam pulled on me a month ago (May). I luckily chained my bike up with a chain and padlock but that didn't stop them following me with the spare key and try to steal it. I was out for a few hours (left the bike chained at hotel) and came back to some guy sitting on my bike waving the key at me that he declared I had 'dropped'. Not the case at all as both bike and padlock key were up in my hotel room safety box. I went and got them out of the safe, took his spare key and took the bike straight back to the rental shop. Got my passport off them (always give photocopy if you can) and gave her both bike keys back telling her I know what they tried to do. Just couldn't remove the chain and padlock as they didn't have the spare key to that but decided to try and get a reward for 'finding' my 'dropped' key.

    Was just back there this weekend and had my phone stolen, right out of my hand! Silly mistake walking across busy Sisowath Quay road holding it. Two guys on a bike road past and the passenger snatch it straight out of my hand. So always keep valuables hidden in pockets and if you must use your phone, make sure it's out of reach of passing vehicles and people.


  • kim said

    A big thank you to Traveling Mark for exposing some of the scams, although there are many more, most foreigners don't even know they are being scammed...It happens all the time, when you eat, drink, sleep, travel, and more,
    And after that they will try to rob you if you have anything left over.........It's called Cambodian culture.....

    Things are getting more dangerous by the day, they need your money and will get it one way or another..


  • Derek said

    In Siem Reap, there is a girl named Minea, working at AHA restaurant. She is a professional girlfriend. Pretty, clever and with good command of English. Beware! She is only after money.


  • Lanmik said

    Really. When were you with her and how much did she take you for? She got me to.


  • tom said

    Beware of a girl called Lyly, realname Channita, pronounced "sonita". She befriends you, borrows your phones, moto, then claims a police officer stole it, but she will pay you back, but she needs your help to get accomodation, food, etc. She has ties to gangsters and she admitted "i could have killed you 2 months ago", which was when she 'borrowed' my moto. Then her friends Sokorne from walkabout and the moneylender called Achoo stole the moto id card, saying they will keep it safe so Lyly's gangsters dont steal it to sell the moto for more money. And i suspect now they planned it all together with Chornay Ros, who has the wet tissue booth at Citymall, as she borrowed money for that business then refused to pay it back. Dont trust these local khmer or viet here in Phnom Penh.


  • Kevin said

    Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam it's all the same. When someone I don't know comes up to be out of the blue and says "nice shoes, where did you get them from?" or "where are you from?" I always say New Zealand. After they start their spiel about sister/niece/cousin going to New Zealand to study/teach/nurse I say "Oh, I'm sorry! I thought you asked me where I'd come from, I've just come from New Zealand on route from a trip to the US, I'm an Australian and have never traveled to New Zealand. That leaves them with nothing and they usually just walk away. I'm kind of hoping I run into one of these pricks one day who actually changes his story about where his relative is going.


  • Larry said

    I have been traveling for 4 months through Bali,Singapore, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam and without exception they are all lying mother fuckers None of them should be trusted. Enter these countries at your own risk. Do not ride cyclo bikes or use local tailors. You will be ripped off. Never pay anything until goods are received. Make notes on agreed price before any business. They all lack integrity and honour.


  • Pov said

    @Derek and Lanmik: many people now her. She very easy just pay and she do for you.


  • Pete said

    Worst scam/mugging ever, I have travelled for 5 years and just this weekend in Phnom Penh and walking up the street I did drop my bank card and a seemingly nice bloke informed me, he got chatting and said was I enjoying the sights and asked if I would like to join him for a typical meal, I though yes as I love to experience the culture, he said he would pick me up later from my hostel. He arrived and took me to his place on his scooter (looking back he probably took me a very long way round so I was not aware of his location) we had a lovely meal and chatted and he suggested we should play cards which I agreed (no money involved)later on a girl came in and then a man and the man joined in then put £1000 on the table and I said oh I don't gamble, he pulled out a gun and demanded my money (which I had very little on me), they put a sack over my head and sandwiched me on a motorbike between them and took me to a cash point where my bank would only let me have £500 so they took me to a shop and made me buy 2 I phones. I went back to the hostel I'm unsure of time and how I got but I think the way I felt they may have drugged the meal I ate, I managed to buy another phone but the first man was hanging around the hostel so he wanted my new number (they had taken my phone the night before), I gave him my number but he told me not to leave the hostel, I got a taxi to the airport and 7 hours later after a lot of trouble trying to get a flight (I was lucky to still have my passport) I was on my way to Bangkok and then England! Had the man not helped me over my bankcard I would never have trusted him but a little kindness clouds your judgment in this case.


  • Meg said

    Phewwwww, looks like I dodged a bullet. I've been living in Phnom Penh for around a month, and today came across the friendliest old Cambodian man called 'Andy' who stopped me and asked how I was & where I was from. He was over the moon when I said I was from London, and told me his daughter was moving to Birmingham after Christmas to work at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. He told me how nervous she was about meeting new people and moving there, and asked if I would mind meeting her to chat and give her advice about moving to England. He invited me to have lunch with his family and meet her, offering to take me for free on his motorbike and then drop me off wherever I wanted after lunch. He honestly seemed so genuine and lovely, and his English was great... but my instincts told me it wasn't the best idea (perhaps because the Cambodian man was called Andy) so I said I had to go to work. He seemed really upset and was begging me to arrange to meet her after work. I felt really bad walking away, and thought I'd been overly sceptical, then literally 10 mins later a young couple pulled up on a motorbike to tell me they 'loved my dress' they then went on to ask where I was from. 'No way!!! England?! My sister is moving to Manchester after Christmas to work at the hospital, but she is so nervous! Would you please come and meet her?'
    What are the chances...


  • Tana said

    Kim, I don't know whether you been scammed in Cambodia or not or you just heard about it and jumped in to make assumption about the people and the country, I can guarantee you scam happening everywhere doesn't matter whether it is a poor or rich country the scam just come in a different form, for you to say that it is Cambodian culture to rob is just a bit too harsh and close mind, Yes, I am Cambodian and not because i am Cambodian I am bragging about my country I just want the justice to be serve, I traveled to quiet a few countries and people tried to scam me sometimes I fell for it and some other times not but I have never labelled as it is their culture to scam people, we try to understand why they did that? because they are desperate? or just pure greed? I do understand to that sometimes we have best intention wanting to help but when we realize that our kindness has been betrayed that is not a good feeling but that just how it is... Like Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde, all I wanted to say is there are always bad and good people everywhere please keep and open minded and suspend your judgment before you know the facts....


  • zac said

    Man, i've been in phnom penh for one day and had the old 'my sister/daughter is moving to your city to be a nurse, you have to come to my house and meet her' trick pulled on me three times already.


  • Cara said

    I wish I had seen this forum earlier as I had the "my sister is moving to your country" scam pulled on me just yesterday.
    I was approached by a friendly fat woman and her brother, they got me talking cause they asked about one of my piercings which many people do, so I didn't suspect anything.
    They told me they're from the philippines and their sister would be travelling to Europe soon and if I wanted to come to their home for lunch and give them some advice on it.
    There, I met the alledged Cambodian husband of the sister (if I had paied more attention it would have been weird by that point cause they would at one point say "sister", at another point "sister in law" and keep mixing things up but I kinda assumed it was due to their english not being perfect).
    So the "husband" talked to me about his and that and at some point told me he was working at a casino and that they regularly employed people to play with the banker so they could get money out of the rich people's pocket that go to gamble there. Then he told me that they also hold games at his house, mainly games that are (ubreasonably) illegal in Casinos and that just last night some woman won 86'000 dollars playing with her rich ftiends and that they behaved very badly and gave the sister who served them all night only 50 bucks and how rude that was etc etc.
    Sympathies on my side obviously.
    So he goes on telling me that if I liked he would show me how they manipulated the cards. I thought he would just demonstrate it and was even a bit interested in it. So he explained it to me and just as we finished, that woman from last night came to "play with her friends later on".
    I was still not really suspecting anything and the husband took me to the side and told me if I could help them get some money out of her for revenge, I would get half of it. Since he suggested we play for a small amount, I though what the hell, especially because the woman was such a bitch, I actually wanted her to lose some money.
    So, we played and she started pulling out heaps of money. When the hand was dealt that I had been told by the husband had to be my last one, there were 52'000 dollars on the table, about 30'000 from her and about 20'000 from me that I had taken "credit" for from him.
    Before revealing the cards, the woman started talking about how it was unfair that she had solid cash here and I didn't and that she had a very strong hand and wanted proof that I actually had the money I owed her.
    The husband then took me outside and told me how I had done so great and that it was nearly over and that we just had to get enough cash (or other valuables) to show her. So we agreed to tell her that I had to go and get the money blabla and to come back in two hours.

    When she was gone, the husband got 10'000 from his own savings in the house and said he would go lend some money from friends. After a while it "turned out" that we hadn't enough so they pleaded me to try and get the rest. The eoman who had first talked to me accompanied me and made me buy an iphone for 1000 dollars and withdraw another 1000 from the atm. I didn't feel comfortable about this at all but I really trusted those people. Luckily, I reached my limit and my credit card is prepaid so I could actually not get any more money. They took me back to the house saying it was all okay and stuff and the woman was already there (which should have also made me more suspicuous I guess). But turns out we were still short on about 5000 dollars and she insisted on getting that money.
    Suddenly, a friend of the husband's arrived and they told me he would help us get those 5000 and that I should tell the lady to wait again. In order to not raise suspicions, I would have to leave the house while the husband and the friend got the money.
    So, the people who had talked to me first took me away again on their motorbike and we drove to the city mall because it was "a good place to wait.before going back".
    I was extremely exhaustes at that point (not sure if they had put anything into my coffee) and sat down at a table. The nice woman said she'd go get something to drink. When she didn't come back after half an hour, it dawned to me that I had definitely been scammed.
    I felt so stupid, I started crying right there.
    They got 2000 dollars from me, which is a lot for me, being a student.
    I won't even go to the embassy or the police cause I know I'd have to pay about the same ammount in bribes if I wanted anything to happen.
    If I had just found that forum 24 hours earlier, I could have avoided this. I feel so terribly stupid that I didn't suspect anything earlier and that I didn't listen to my gut telling me something wasn't right.
    On the other hand, reading that some of you had pulled guns at them when refusing to do what they said, I'm kinda glad for my naive trust because having a gun pulled at me or having them hanging around my hotel would have been worse than just losing 2000 dollars and feeling stupid about it.

    I still love Cambodia so far and most of the people here are wonderful. But I'm definitely not going to fall for that shit again, nor anything else that involves going to someone's house or generally sounds a bit like too much of a coincidence to be true. Though they seem to have adapted "moving to the exact same place you're from" to "travelling through some of the countries close to yours, do you know any of them?" which makes it sound a bit more legit.
    I was told so much about Cambodians being so hospitable and thaz being invoted to someone's house is something you should definitely accept cause it's very interesting but I guess I won't trust anyone here that far anymore which is a pitty.
    I hope others can see this post before falling for the scam...


  • Jan said

    Why was my comment removed...??


  • Carson Brown said

    So glad came to read this!!! I'm literally right in the middle of this scam. Met a nice guy from Malaysia by the canal in siem reap tonight and chatted with him for a bit. His English was very good which is not common here so I was enjoying the conversation. He was very interested when it turned out I'm from Canada as his sister's daughter is going to study there next year. He called his sister on the phone and spoke to her in English which he told me was for my benefit, it seemes odd at the time it now I'm recognizing it as purely trying to convince me of the story. She came over, same story and I'm invited back to meet them at the same spot at 1 pm where we'll go eat lunch tomorrow at their place. Needless to say I won't be meeting them. I wish there was some way I could get them but it seems the police are very corrupt here.


  • Johanna said

    I couldn't believe Phillipe's post was already a year old, because LITERALLY the same thing happened to me today! Two girls, lunch at the place, then the uncle who's a dealer, then the other part coming in to play, exactly the same!
    I also half fell for it, I put in 40$ as that was all I had, and then they wanted me to take out a loan, but I put a stop to that.
    So yes I lost 40$ but at least nobody threatened me with weapons or anything...


  • Tim said

    The sister thing, the lunch tomorrow--all that jazz. I thought about meeting the guy (Filipino) at a restaurant and having a beer. I wouldn't have gone to his house because I know better.... this is because I was mugged in the Ukraine about ten years ago. No interest in gambling either. Anyways, a tuk-tuk driver talked me out of it, but overcharged me a couple dollars for a ride; I'll just think of it as a tip. I don't think they (tuk0tuk drivers) are in on it, but them telling you this info makes you feel less like taking part in the haggling stuff. Haggling is part of the culture, so coming from the "West" you'll be unprepared and you'll probably not want to offend people--the whole guilt thing. Say no thank you and walk away...
    Oh, what I wanted to add is that I feel like the Filipino crew knows me, they hang out at the mall too. I don't speak with a heavy accent, but this other guy knew where I was from. The woman with him, I swear to God (sorry lord), she was the same woman who tried to give me a ride on her motorbike while I was wandering around the night before. I am convinced they know that i know they know I know, something like that. And the conversation didn't continue because they knew that I know they knew. I am I getting this right? Be vigilant!


  • Richard said

    Quick one guys we have been staying in a hostel in Siem reap for the last 2 weeks 2 days ago we went to check out and the bill should have been $140 $10 a night for 14 nights the bill was over double that so we refused to pay and left they over charged 3 other people while we stayed at the hostel but thought nothing of it at the time and put it down to the language barrier!! They are now saying they will report us to immigration we were in a group so kinda worried now any advice?


  • Jan said

    My Son arrived in Cambodia 3/3/16, He was planning to wait for 4 or 5 weeks till a Sponsorship visa to come to NZ was processed. On arrival he purchased a work visa for 1 month. He booked the same cheap Questhouse in Phnom phenn he had stayed in previously on his travels of Asia in 2014.On the 5th March we video called and he was sharing his plans and later that evening we chatted online

    I sold the tab just extra lugguage and more money in my pocket met a cambodian family today who have a sister who is moving to Scotland soon to be a nurse we are having drinks at my hostel tonight and the dad is a mechanical engineer who says he can get me a job assisting passing tools

    He was meant to have drinks that evening at his hostel but he said it was meant to be at 5 but the didn't show and it was 6.30pm he was chatting with me. He mentioned that he told them if they showed up and he wasn't there he would be at the internet cafe.

    My Son passed away in his guest room bed that night or early hours Sunday morning. I have always felt uneasy about this Cambodian family/drinks message and more so when i read the comments on here....
    We were told he had a heart attack (Cambodia paperwork). We don't have toxicology results back yet for his actual cause of death which may have been Heart attack but from what??


  • Ong said

    I was happy with the bar girl after i have spend 100 dollers with girl drinks as i thought it was worth it as it was fun at the bar. After that she asked to continue partying at casa nightclub. So i thought why not as i was having good time at the bar. As in the club i spend another 100 dollar to open a botle there she asked me to give her 10 dollar to secure her purse snd later 5 dollar as she need to call soneone, i smell something fishy, i was warn by a guy in the club there are something fishy with the bar girl, so i gave tip to the bar tender he said the girl are not for good and asked me to bring the bottle i open back and leave the girl. The bar girl then on the tuk tuk own by the bar act she lost the iphone 6 she asked me to keep when she go to toilet, i don't give a shit as i said to the tuk tuk driver i was looking for fun time in Phnom Phnem not any issue arised. I cleared the line to drop me off as i go back to my hotel. I hope nothing happen before i leave two days later.


  • Steve said

    Hi ! I have been to cambodia 3 times and was scammed by well known Internet Scammer Thavra Pich AK THAVRA Choun, It was a advanced marriage Scam with the whole family involved in this in fact she has multiple facebook accounts on the Facebook with Different names.I had been legaly engaged with all cultural and legal protocols witnessed by the family and community . During the time we were engaged to be married I found out she was having sexual relations with 3 different men in the time for money and financial gain. From all the internet activity of scams she does she has had multiple cars during this time frame.also with no means of direct financial ability to support her purchases of very expensive cars casting many thousands of dollars ( No long term work)


  • Colmo said

    I just got home from Siem Reap via China, saw the temples at Angkhor Wat, was there with a mate of mine, drank at one of those mobile street bars, got absolutely rotten pissed, but arrived home to our guest house safe and sound and without anyone trying anything on us at all. and this happened night after night. The only possible was when the Tuk Tuk driver asked us if we wanted to be taken for "Boom Boom", which we politely declined. Whenever in Asia be careful, they can sense a non-streetwise traveller at 30 paces.


  • Chris said

    I too got hit by the 'my sister is moving to your country come for lunch', get dragged into a card game. Seems my crew of scammers weren't as upto spec as others or maybe because it was just morning. They got $20 off me and i think thats the price i'm happy to pay considering how bad others have had it.

    If someone in phnom pehn is being friendly with you for no reason....they probably want something from you. Just be cautious and do not ignore those alarm bells in your head.


  • MW said

    I found this forum enlightening in "I would have liked to know". I had a terrible experience with a waitress named Minea. We dated over a year hoping for marriage, only to discover she was after money and gifts. I caught her in a bar with a poor fellow she had started a relationship with behind my back. Her modus operandi is to meet men and woo them with a trip to the islands. Sure enough, she had done the same with this new guy and others before him when she was supposed to be my girlfriend! I loved her dearly but she became heartless after being caught. I tried relentlessly politely asking her to return borrowed money and personal items but she changed numbers and blocked me on Facebook. Now she had a child with the guy I caught her with that may not be his. So be cautious if "you want to know". Others have complained about her in Avoiding Ripoffs and Scams on the site. Just search for Minea.


  • Aurelien said

    Tourist scam at the airport of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

    This post is to warn other travelers to be cautious with Visa / Emigration officers at the airport of Phnom Penh.

    When I arrived at the visa office at 10 PM last month, there were 2 queues with non-friendly officers: one where to leave your passport and a picture, and one where you pay and get back your passport.
    After moving to the second queue, the Deputy chief of visa service Pol. Col Mean Sam Ang (according my visa stamp) asked me to pay the 30 USD visa and I gave a note of 100 USD. He made me wait a few minutes, gave me back my passport and urgently ordered with a rude tone to move to the emigration queue. Being tired from the flight, I did not notice they did not give me back the change, my fault here.
    Then I moved to the emigration queue, and wait for 15 minutes before crossing it. During all this time, the officer could have bring me back my change since he was only 10 meters away, but he didn’t do.

    When I went out from the airport, I realized that I lost my 70 USD change. Of course once outside, there is no way to come back inside. I tried to get help but nobody wanted to be involved (security, airport officers or information service). The following day I tried to call the airport, and they refused to help. All bribed or scared to go against the bribe?

    I have the feeling it was all well organized, and they were trying taking advantage of the tired travelers.

    A few days later when I was about to leave the country, I tried to talk to an emigration officer at the departure area but seems a very sensitive topic and they looked very angry; I didn’t feel safe enough to insist and left.

    70 USD is not a big amount, but enough to give you a very bad (maybe wrong) image about the all country when you arrive, so be vigilant if you go in this country.


  • Michael Stewart said

    If someone approaches me and is too friendly I will be polite with them but do not go anywhere with them or give them money. I simply do what I would do when i live in the USA. If a person I dont know asks me to go somewhere with them than I politely say no or I will ask to meet them at a location I know if I would like to get to know them. If it is a woman I am dating than i have a rule no sex until after the third date. If it is a girl i want a one night stand with then I would have a hotel room close enough to my main one where I will meet her. That way if there is a problem I can easily leave the situation and I do not have to worry about her stealing anything or learning anything I would rather her not know. If a person wants to go to tea house or cafe than I will ask to go to one that I know and trust. Usually a scammer is not going want to deviate from their plan. I would rather be considered unfriendly than be a victim. I have to admit I do not think I have been a victim of scams in Cambodia yet. Once I had a white person ask me if i had change for a 20 and when i looked at the bill he had is did not look right. I told him I did not have change and there is a bank down the street that can help them. I figure if i need change I would go to a bank or a money changer and not some random person on the side of the street. I also had a swedish man ask me for spare change. I said no because I figure if you are going to travel half way around the world you should have an emergency fund in place so you can get back.


  • Charlotte said

    Been twice to Cambodia and the first time I was approached by one man wanting me to go to his home to meet his family and another time by PP river a filipino woman wanting to meet up next day. My gut just told me not to trust strangers wanting to make plans with you! haha I have never had anything stolen from me!

    Now I have a Khmer boyfriend and second time I was there he was so incredibly protective it wasn't funny.
    Making me sleep with belongings under my pillow haha We travelled all over and he took care of all of my belongings and I decided where I wanted to spend money or not and he kept me safe.

    The only thing where I felt I was pushing my luck was riding on back of moto everywhere because had a couple of near accidents and one collide that just left me a bit shocked and bruised arm.


  • Den watts said

    Also be aware if you have a massage in any the places in PP they always ask you to hang your bag and clothes by the door and while you're having the massage another will slip in the room and rifle your bag, they are mostly all like this so never leave you're bag by the door hold you're Wallet in your hand at all times even during the massage there are many thieves here


  • David from said

    Thanks for sharing Phil! Another major one that has caught media attention in recent in media years is scam orphanages.
    Basically, the number of orphanages increased by 75% from 2005-2017, thanks to them renting children from poor families for $25/month. They promise that children can get free education and food here. The fact is ~80% of these children at orphanages are not orphans and are poorly treated. They are merely used as props to get donations to go into the owners' pockets.


  • Ash567 said

    Goodness. Am planning to visit soon and all these msgs are making me think if its a good idea.
    Seems like one way or the other they will ruffle you up if your not smart enough.


  • Meredith L Freyre said

    Adding a new scam here. I like to call it the Cambodian version of "Tony n' Tina's Wedding" a dinner theater show in the states. It targets couples as well as single men & women.

    Moved to PP for work with my husband. Been here 3 months and no issues. We've traveled here 5 times and are pretty savy to the scams.

    We're out & about in an area near the airport (we avoid Riverside) looking for a faucet and similar to the other scams a nice gentleman approaches us, super friendly. Offers to translate for us and help, he asks where were from (US and we just moved here!) he says no way I'm from Florida and just moved here too!

    We have a nice conversation about adjusting to life here. We talk about our jobs ...were in real estate etc.. I can instantly tell he's a charmer and being overtly friendly. Plying us for info...what we do...what we're doing here. He invites us to a wedding he's in this weekend. He'd have to check with the groom and see...kinda wishy washy...and we'd have to you know, pay just like you do at American weddings, like $30 each. We're like yeah yeah ok, but are intrigued bc it would be a cool experience. We connect on FB and he agrees to see if it's ok if we come and will send a pic of the invitation. Sure enough later that day, we get the invite for Wedding a few days later in an area near city centre.

    I'm immediately suspicious as I've heard it's a common thing for Westerners to get invited to weddings. I get it we have funds, we get a meal and fun night out. He's clearly trying to get the new couple some extra cash. Harmless we thought. They offer to pick us up but decline as we know better. 

    So we go to the wedding and it was super fun. I was an actor in "Tony n' Tina's Wedding" and it was almost an identical experience, lol. They were so warm & welcoming, sat us by another westerner guest, invited nice people to our table, gave us plates of food, lots of alcohol, and dancing, a band & DJ, the works. People literally fawned over us. The bride & groom sat with us. I even got to take home the bouquet. 

    At the wedding the ladies kept me occupied and the men continued to chat with my husband and find out he was in real estate, had his own company and a new project we're starting. Surprise! One of the gentleman was in real estate too and offered to connect us with his friend who's in the business too. Let's be friends! We had a really fun time. Well worth the $25 per person price. We go home happy & drunk and these folks had found their next scam.

    My husband is contacted the next day by the real estate gentleman to meet up and he'll introduce us to his friend. We're interested in meeting new people, who knows?!! It was so random at the wedding...why not?

    My husband meets up with the two men at a coffee shop. They are all excited and want to do some business together on our new project. Lots of exciting talk. Taking trips to visit land ...setting up seminars to charge people $500 a pop to pitch our new "project" and get investment from them to finance! We don't have to put up a cent, only $1500 to get a contract drawn up and negotiate terms for us. It all sounded too good to be true and moved so fast. It was. It's called pre-selling, a common RE scam here in Cambodia where they pitch ideas using a Westerner to legitimize it. Ask for money to finance it, but then peace out and disappear with everyone's money. We researched the men and saw an article about one being arrested for a RE scam (just like they described). People have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    We cut off contact right after that, but realized the "Khmer Wedding" is an updated version of the scam. People are wise to strangers coming up to them on the streets. The wedding invite, is legit and makes you let down your guard. You're with a family, but who knows if it's actually the scammers family. We see weddings going on almost every day. 

    The real scam will start once you're drinking & enjoying yourself so they can gain your trust and identify your weakness & an opportunity. They were SO nice & friendly. We've heard of the Khmer hospitality and thought we were experiencing it. Everything seemed kinda random, but it wasn't in hindsight.

    The Khmer people have developed high emotional intelligence skills (side affect from trauma & PTSD which is rampant here. We all know why). They listen well, remember details about you, will make you feel like you're they're best friend. They're really good at it. It's what makes the scams believable. They look to  identify nice people who may be vulnerable to such displays of kindness. They also know they need to evolve their scams and get creative to continue them. 

    We didn't loose any money, just the $50 at the wedding but it was an impressive show for sure. 


  • Jonathon Vaughan said

    Very consistent with my recent experience in Phnom Penh (August, 2020).

    On several occasions I met a man in the street who commented on my tattoo. This would be as I was walking to the shops and once at AEON mall. On each occasion he told me his sister was moving to Australia and that could I talk to her and his mother as his mother was worried about her safety. He offered to ride me to his home which I thankfully declined. The next time I saw him he said the same thing “nice tattoo, nice tattoo” and repeated the story. I thought it was odd he didn’t remember me but just went along with it. This happened on another three occasions, by which time I thought he had mental issues for not remembering he had told the same story 4 or 5 times and I had stood him up when agreeing to meet the next day.

    The last time I spoke to him he quickly handed me a phone and a young lady spoke who sounded of University age. In hindsight she had very good American English which indicated to me she was from the Phillipines. She was insistent on meeting but I declined and said I had to work.

    It’s now clear he was trying to scam me. He claimed his name was Sonny, glasses quite old late 40’s early 50’s. Slightly overweight and non-threatening. Talking to him you assume he is a little off but not dangerous. I now believe he is very dangerous and knows what he is doing.


  • BettyThema said

    Dating for vacation without obligation with beautiful girls -


  • Cuchi said

    Thinking about going to Cambodia? Forget it.


Add a Comment