The Interior Ministry’s anti-cyber crime department yesterday warned social network users to be aware of scammers who make false claims about lottery or award wins.
Fake Facebook accounts with unclear sources have been used in attempts to cheat Cambodian users by sending them messages about winnings that require users to pay delivery or processing fees first, the department said.
Chea Pov, head of the anti-cyber crime department, said there had been complaints from people who had been cheated.
“That is why we are advertising the risks of online scamming to our fellow brothers and sisters to avoid them being cheated,” he said. “We are also planning to promote the message through other channels, though this will take some time.”
Mr Pov noted the ministry could arrest only those within the country. If they lived outside the country, an agreement with foreign countries would have to be reached before they could be arrested.
“We have the ability to find the whereabouts of scammers as long as they live domestically,” he said. “But if they are staying outside the country, it is hard for us and it can be done only if we have the cooperation of the law enforcement of that particular country. So it takes time.”
“We have checked those scamming accounts but they appear in millions, some of which are registered domestically and some outside the country,” he added. “Our country is a victim country which has just experienced the use of the internet.”
Im Vutha, spokesman for the Telecommunications Regulator of Cambodia, called for victims to cooperate with authorities.
“So far, because of embarrassment, many victims have not filed complaints,” he said. “Those who can take action are the General Commissariat of the National Police and National Military Police through cooperation with mobile phone operators and the internet regulator.”
“This is called an internet or telephone scam which involves cheating using online platforms and the phone,” he added. “Normally, before they target anybody, they will search for the background of that person through social networking. Sometimes, they personalise themselves as companies and lie to the Facebook user that they have won an award.
“They say they want to send money to the user but before getting the award, the user needs to pay a delivery fee in advance. That is how it works,” he said.
Mr Vutha said authorities issued a directive in 2012 requiring mobile phone operators to register all customers with their national identity cards when they purchased SIM cards.
Recently, the ministry again issued a final deadline for SIM registration by July 1.