Congratulations, you’ve won the lottery: Net scams hit Cambodia

Increasing numbers of Cambodians now have bank accounts, ATM cards and internet access; the internet scammers have been quick to see opportunities and move in for the kill


Vandy Rattana

Kim Sothea Thangdy, who very nearly fell victim to an internet scam doing the rounds in Cambodia, says the experience has put her off using the internet.

KIM Sothea Thangdy, an actress and secretary, looks at the table somewhat abashed, while recounting a story she would rather not remember.

“I want to be a rich woman. I like dreaming, and I like to use my imagination. So when I received this email informing me that I had won the lottery – my dreams had come true,” she said.

Kim Sothea Thangdy was very nearly the victim of a recent email lottery scam that is doing the rounds in Cambodia.
She received an email two weeks ago claiming to be from The National Lottery Company, based in the UK. It informed her that she had won US$300,000.

The 21-year-old says the email seemed very believable, so she replied with a series of questions, and though excited, kept the news of her supposed winnings a secret until she was sure.
“I was thinking, ‘It is my time. It is my time for change’,” she said.

The National Lottery Company, which does not exist, replied at length to Thangdy’s queries and seemed very happy she had contacted them. The scammers began an extended correspondence with her to organise payment.
She decided to tell her family and friends the good news. But her suspicions were aroused when the company began requesting highly personal information, including details about her bank account.

Kim Sothea Thangdy turned to a British friend for assistance, against the advice of other friends, who said he would try to steal her winnings. This friend said the emails were fraudulent and the supposed lottery was a scam either to steal her identity or empty her bank account.

“When [he] told me it was false, all just a horrible trick, I felt hopeless. I didn’t know there were people in this world that could do this. I still don’t understand.”


Kim Sothea Thangdy is not alone. The lottery scam is one of the most common on the internet and plays easily on people’s natural greed.

Only one in 1,000 people need to take the bait in order for perpetrators to make a profit.

The scam is said to have originated in Nigeria, where the official language is English and unemployment is high. Scams originating from Nigeria are famous and have been dubbed ‘419 scams’, referring to a clause in Nigerian law that prohibits them.

This and similar scams became popular in 2000, though they have been around in various forms since the early 1980s.
Security organisations, including Interpol, the British Secret Service and the FBI, are now working together to combat them.
A recent report from Australia last month revealed that $36 million each year is lost to Nigerian scammers-the majority of them internet-based.

Nigerian Foreign Minister Sunday Olu Agbi expressed outrage at those who target his country for criticism, saying victims are as greedy as the perpetrators.

“The bottom line is that anything that sounds too good to be true is too good to be true,” he was quoted as saying last month.

Nov Vitu, IT manager at the Khmer Web Group, said internet fraud is on the rise in Cambodia.

“Cambodia has had a rise in credit card use since 2006, and this type of development is of interest to hackers looking for an opportunity to cheat people,” he said.

He said people must be careful about sharing their bank-card details and be aware of the kinds of scams that could target them.

Ek Vandy, secretary of state for the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, agreed.

“It is very difficult for us to stop this sort of thing because the problem is global, the internet is global,” he said. “We can only control communications in Cambodia.”

Kim Sothea Thangdy says she feels “far away” from the internet now. She did not tell the police about the scam because she thought they wouldn’t care.

“I would be embarrassed to tell them, and besides, they will only say that you are wasting their time.”

Source: Phnom Penh Post

24 thoughts on “Congratulations, you’ve won the lottery: Net scams hit Cambodia”

  1. I agreed with # 5. It seem like this Johnson is an @sshole, That’s really ignorance and so fucking stupid. He come into this site and disrespected you as a blogger not only that but disrespected khmer women. Mr. Johnson I hope I never run into you personally. We as khmer will not tolerate your stupidity.

    ចុះអាប្រែតណា ហានចូលមកមើលងាយខ្មែរដល់ម្លឹង ?​វាមិនគួមើលងាយដល់ស្រីខ្មែរដល់ម្លឹងទេ បង ប្អូន ជាខ្មែរដែរតើឲ្យជាតិដ៏ទៃ មើលងាយខ្មែរដល់ថ្នាក់ហ្នឹងឫ ?

  2. wow Jack D. Johnson, u do live up to ur name JACK ASS dont u kunt? u nasty wanker have some respect for the blogger and khmer women, u insensitive bastard, i dont know wat language to use with u, coz u have stooped lower then a dog, u self less piece of SHIT! pplz like u who make such rude and stupid comments need to burn in hell! u faggot!

    Didnt ur mother ever teach u how to respect women, u disrespectful loser, for heaven sake think before u type, make use of the life ur mother gave u!


  3. o.k any ways sorry my khmer bro and sis for my bad language before, but really we shouldnt let immature faggots like that get away with posting such rude and stupid comments. so disrespectful to women, he has forgotten his mother is female! i would be so a shame and hurt,to be his mother! its bad enough going through 9 months of pain to give birth but to have a son, with no brains and disrespectful to females thats even more heart breaking!

    oh and with the lottery scams, please becareful, remember any thing that seems to be TOO GOOD TOO BE TRUE! it usally is, especially on the internet. The internet is a whole new cyber world which is hard to control, Any one, Any where in the world could access u and ur accounts. It hard enough to implement international law, imagine cyber law….though the internet is nothing new but cyber law is really hard to implement it cross different countries, time zones and is hard to trace. So becareful.

    Its not just lottery scams to be aware of its such thing as:

    1. Million dollar investments ( get rich fast) deals usally involve a letter stating from a business man in UK, nigeria, afghan etc.

    2. A sympathy letter from a family member of some one who is sick or died in the family- they usally write a sad story that they want to transfer millions of dollars outside the country, and want to borrow ur bank account, they A) give u commission for transfer or B) give u lump sum.

    3. A letter from a lawyer stating that a client is in need of help and requires ur assistance once again requesting to transfer millions of dollars.

    4. Looking for a business partner- they give u a deal thats too good to resist like eg: invest 20,000 and we will transfer 40,000 in the first month of operations.ALL paper work seems to be legitamite but its NOT.

    other things to look for, usally their english is at times good, at times very bad. if its bad u know that its crap! if it looks funny delete it or report as SPAM! some have hidden virus in the emails so pplz if u dont know where its from, delete it! if its a friend or work email, they email again! dont risk it!

    i use to get at least 5-8 emails from these scammers each day, so im talking from experience, i deleted them each day it was part of my cleaning for the day! These emails are rubbish so delete away!

  4. Mai

    អរគុណដែលបានជេអាចំកួត ចនសិន (johnson) បើខ្ញុំអាចទះកម្លៀងវាបាន តាម​ Monitor របស់ខ្ញុំបាន ខ្ញុំទះវាឲ្យវិលខួម្តង ម៉ាអាចុយម៉ារ៉ាយ កូនមេក្របី ឃ្លាច !

  5. សូមអរគុណបងណាស់ ដែលបានចូលទៅ ក្នុងប្លុករបស់ខ្ញុំ។ ហើយបានទាំងជួយកែតម្រូវ ឲ្យកាន់តែប្រសើរជាងមុន យើងម្នាក់ៗ សុទ្ធតែចង់បង្ហាញអ្វីដែលយើងមាន ឲ្យបានជាប្រយោជន៍ដល់អ្នកអានទាំងអស់ ដូចគ្នា។ ខ្ញុំឃើញតែប្លុកបងឯង ជាប្លុកមួយ ដែលមានឯកសារ សំខាន់ៗអំពីស្រុកខ្មែរ តែគួរឲ្យស្ដាយ វាមិនអាចចេញបានបើមិនមានយូនីកូដ។ តែនេះជាប្លុក វាមិនអាចទៅរួចទេ សំរាប់វ៉ើបប្រេស។ សូមអភ័យទោសផង មិនជាមានការខុសឆ្គង!


  6. កូនខ្មែរ-បារាំង

    កុំខឹងនឹងកូនខ្លាព្រៃ អី មនុស្សដែលត្រូវខឹងជាមួយនោះ គឺ អារបល់យរ៍ ចនសិន (johnson) ទេ

    ខ្មែរគ្នាឯងខុសត្រូវតិចតួច អត់ទោសឲ្យគ្នាខ្លះទៅ !

  7. មិនខឹងសម្បារអីទេ តែនេះជាការដាស់តឿនតែប៉ុណ្ណោះ!
    ចំណែកលោក Jack D. Johnson មិនសមលក្ខណៈជាមនុស្សសោះ គួរឲ្យស្ដាយ​ដែលវាកើតជាមនុស្ស រស់ឲ្យធ្ងន់ផែនដី!

  8. Hey all you inhabitants of Cambodia,

    Stop believing in all those scam emails from fake lotteries, contests, work at home opportunities, money transfers, romance scams, etc. They’re all fake. Just Google “419 Scams” and you’ll learn everything (provided you can read english).
    As far as being an actress, model, or secretary in Cambodia, I know there is no real market for real acting, modeling, or secretaries. I would say that these job titles are really a code for being a sex worker or prostitute. I’ve read on the internet that the sex business in Cambodia is a major source of income for most people. Is this true?

    Jack D. Johnson


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