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Approached by two guys outside Sorya Shopping Centre...


Fifteen15

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I've been in Phnom Penh for almost 2 weeks. I love it here but I've well and truly ran out of things to do so I've reluctantly bought a bus ticket for Siem Reap that will leave tomorrow morning.

Yesterday I was sitting on a bench outside Sorya Shopping Centre at about 9:30pm just after closing time. There were still a lot of people about including security so a pretty safe place. Two guys approached me asking where I'm from. Didn't think anything of it, I get that a lot here and the guys didn't seem dodgy at all. We started chatting, just small talk, then they asked to add me on Facebook. I had no problem with that, I thought they were just curious. But THEN one of them says, "I have a car, you want to go somewhere?" My guard was up already, it was almost 10pm and these were two strangers, but this freaked me out a little bit. I'd met them not 2 minutes ago and they're already asking to "go somewhere". I said no its late and I'm tired but he kept asking. I found an excuse to leave and got out of there sharpish. I was still debating whether they were completely innocent or not and if I took it the wrong way, but surely in any culture two guys approaching someone and asking him if he wants to "go somewhere" after 2 minutes of meeting him is a little weird.

I got back to the hostel and did some digging online and as I'm sure most of you are aware there's a scam called the "Filipino scam" or "Blackjack scam" where two strangers approach you, get friendly, take you out to eat, ask if you want to go back to their house and play cards which is of course is rigged so you can't win then you end up owing them a lot of money.

These guys and what happened matches the description of a lot of stories out there on this scam. One of them is apparently half Chinese half Cambodian although he looks very Filipino. It's hard to tell whether he is actually Filipino though. The second guy looked Cambodian. Both in their 40's, both dressed well with cars (middle class?). Apparently one works at the ministry of justice (ironic?) and the other a doctor at a pharmaceutical company.

Ive been talking to them on Facebook knowing who they are but not letting on. I'm just curious to find out more about these people. They keep asking if I want to go to lunch or any of the tourist attractions. They say they will pay and drive. Obviously there's no way I'm going to meet with them but I'm just playing along. Tomorrow morning I'm leaving for Siem Reap and I said I might go to Nagaworld Casino on the night but that I'm undecided yet. Of course this is a lie, I'll be in Siem Reap.

My question, these guys hang around Royal Palace and Riverside a lot. They mentioned these places a few times and there's pictures on their Facebook page. I was 'targetted' at Sorya Shopping Centre, another popular location for this scam to happen. I doubt it, but I have these guys Facebook and I'm guessing it's the same few people that go around all the tourist attractions with the same scam, so if I showed a picture in PM (I think it's unfair to plaster these guys faces over the Internet because I'm not 100% sure they're scammers), would you recognise them?

Edit: I asked a Filipino friend if he looked Filipino. Knowing nothing about who the guy was, she said he looks Vietnamese.

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Definitely sounds like the Filipino Blackjack scam, been around SE Asia for years. I haven't been approached once in the 3 years I've been in PP, but others I know have been approached several times. You can read about in more detail on K440 and Trip Advisor.

(edit) Just to add, it appears that the Filipinos running the scam are recruiting non-Filipinos to initiate the scam and are changing their approach lines because they are aware of the amount of attention they are receiving.

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Trashed my Facebook account a couple of years back and havent missed it since. Only had an account because a previous employer (web development) insisted on my having an account. Far more potential trouble than its worth, even if many guys use it to hookup with Thai women - Lord knows said ladies would struggle if the FB servers ever died.

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Yep, sounds like the Filipino Blackjack scam. I've been here long enough to know the different accents.

I've been aproached by them 2 or 3 times usually with the line "hey dude nice shirt, were you get it?".

Another time I was aproched at central market by a very pretty Flip girl asking where she could buy such-and-such then her "brother" turned up.

I new it was a scam attempt from the begining put played it to see where it would go.

To all new comers in SEA. Beware of strangers baring gifts, it's never free.

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I had the whole scam played out and met them when I was running in the park near Independent Monument . one said he was a dealer from Naga world, and other he was visiting niece ,and was thai . Played cards to see what it was .. 50 000 us was on the table in 20 min folded , had no money in the game so no problem . ... left immediately i could I'd them 100%

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These people don't tend to mess around, nor do they "play nice''. They are probably smarter, better connected, know the lie of the land and better organised than you are. I wouldn't advise playing "Sherlock Holmes" with them. Instead, have absolutely nothing to do with them whatsoever. I'd remove them from your life instanter.....

Why even introduce a potential threat or danger in your life? If your life is missing a certain frission, get marrried...

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You definitely took the right action. I have gone to the homes of many people around the world I had only just met,

and made many delightful friendships.

I have not run foul of that annoying habit, but I do try to weigh up the situation and yours sounded really suss.

Where two people are concerned it is already a wary sign.

Presuming innocence on both parts. Yours and theirs, there could be no problem in chatting to them online.

You will be unable to determine guilt of anything. However you could draw them out a bit and get them to reveal

what they want.

That would be in itself a warning to your friends and others, if that's how you see it.

As long as your communication is innocent and along the lines of what you think they were trying to draw you into,

you would be oK.

See where they are going with their enquiries. Perhaps get them to be more specific.

Well done.

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Never joined FB and never intend to. All sorts of potential trouble not to mention a major time suck. I waste enough time on TV as it is....laugh.png

I am glad that you spend your time on this forum. Your help to me and many others is most welcome.

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I've been going to PP for years. Never been approached by 2 or more at a time. But have been approached by well to do Filipino's before. All spoke good English.Usually they are just interested in talking over lunch. Guess I have been lucky not to run into these other scamers

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Some guys tried to do that to me in Bangkok back in 84. I guess that was "The Thai blackjack scam" so doesn't count?

It was common here in BKK and also in Penang (where they used to hang near the Thai Consulate and on Lebuh Chulia, trying to prey on visa runners in the 90s and 80s but usually orchestrated by Flippers....it got so rife they even began getting on the train in Hat Yai.

It seems the MO has changed a little as they used to dangle a carrot with a picture of their 'sister' who was invariably a red hot dolly who was going to study in your home country and would love to meet you and ask some questions thus assuring the bloke would start thinking with his other organ (the one nor designed for thinking)...

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Why are they still on your Facebook and why are you talking with them ? You sound like an accident waiting to happen.

Reason #238 to shut down FarceBookwai2.gif

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Why are they still on your Facebook and why are you talking with them ? You sound like an accident waiting to happen.

Reason #238 to shut down FarceBookwai2.gif

For yourself you mean? Some of us are actually finding it useful now & then to stay in touch with far away friends (just be very careful of what you post yourself).

I appreciate the OP reporting on the incident and playing along for the sake of getting more information and preventing anyone falling victim (I would agree that the "take a ride" offer sounds majorly dodgy and suspicious).

OP is definitely NOT an accident waiting to happen as OP has no intention of meeting them again.

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I've blocked and deleted them now. I didn't feel comfortable leaving them in my friends list without knowing truly who they were. Turns out one of them was gay and despite telling him on numerous occasions I am straight, he still wanted me to "give it a go" lol. Very strange.

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Why don'y you copy a picture of them off Facebook and post it and see if anyone recognizes them or would that be against the rules?

Because it's been established that one doesn't play games with these guys as they don't play nice if you do, especially if they know where you live/stay...

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I've blocked and deleted them now. I didn't feel comfortable leaving them in my friends list without knowing truly who they were. Turns out one of them was gay and despite telling him on numerous occasions I am straight, he still wanted me to "give it a go" lol. Very strange.

And you believed him,this whole story is "strange".

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Happened to me on Silom near Patpong back in '88.

It was a very scary experience.. A guy said he had a sister who was a nurse who liked "Canadians" and invited me to his place to meet her.

When we got there he offered me food and I felt nervous.. Then he started talking about making money gambling and I told him I wasn't interested.

I had no idea where I was, but told him I was leaving.. I walked out and waited for a taxi, but there were none to be found. The man seemed very angry and said I had to give him money for his trouble..

When a taxi came, I remember getting in and handing a couple hundred baht to the scammer just to shut him up.

I was a real newbie to Asia back then. If that happened to me these days, things would be very different. I'm wondering how I'd play it.

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'Happened to me in Angeles just a few years ago. It smelled right from the start, but I had wandered a bit off the beaten track and it was getting late into the afternoon. This "Smiling Jack" kind of character kept turning up around every corner pestering me to go have "dinner with the pamilya...". I finally turned a familiar corner back onto Perimeter Rd., and that was the end of it.

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Happened to me on Silom near Patpong back in '88.

It was a very scary experience.. A guy said he had a sister who was a nurse who liked "Canadians" and invited me to his place to meet her.

When we got there he offered me food and I felt nervous.. Then he started talking about making money gambling and I told him I wasn't interested.

I had no idea where I was, but told him I was leaving.. I walked out and waited for a taxi, but there were none to be found. The man seemed very angry and said I had to give him money for his trouble..

When a taxi came, I remember getting in and handing a couple hundred baht to the scammer just to shut him up.

I was a real newbie to Asia back then. If that happened to me these days, things would be very different. I'm wondering how I'd play it.

The giveaway was that somebody liked Canadians!

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I still think the only people silly enough to get sucked into actually playing for money would have to be innately greedy to begin with - isn't that the cornerstone of any con ? Much more concerned about my 2014 return to Jakarta than anything that may be waiting for me in KL, PP or Bangkok - and that concern begins with the late-night trip from the airport to my hotel. Pretty sad when you have to go over the cab to make sure its a 'real' Bluebird and the driver isn't about to take you to a vacant lot where his mates are waiting to relieve you of your belongings. I refuse to even consider Manila, but I want to see Jakarta one last time - hopefully, I wont live to regret that wording ;)

Anyone who approaches me in the street only has as much power as I'm prepared to give them - fake monks, other Bule, whatever - but when you get in a cab you've already put your life in someone else's hands, and that includes our friends from the Swampy branch of the Bangkok Stunt Driving School :D

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Just one of many scams. I've done a lot of research on various scams in SE Asia on the internet and know all about the Card Game scam.

Another popular one is a well-dressed man will approach you and say he knows you from the hotel you are staying at and will hope you will say "Oh, you mean the so and so Appartelle?"

He'll say "Yeah, that's where I'm staying too!" and will try to lure you into a scam. This is known as the Interview process. See below for more info.

There is a great app on the Google Play Store called "Scam Detector" and is a compilation of nearly every scam known to mankind.

(Edit: It is also available on iTunes for Apple devices.)

It has different categories and one is "Travel Scams" which has numerous sub-categories.

IDK if it's free or not, but if it is a paid app, it is very inexpensive, like .99 cents and has every scam imaginable and also makes for hours of entertaining reading.

It's also interesting how different countries and regions have different scams as well.

I highly recommend this app as it could easily pay for itself a million times over, even though I believe it is a free app.

I cannot recommend this app highly enough.

Some of these scams are ingenious, such as the "Cell Phone scam" where someone slips an inexpensive cell phone in your pocket without your knowledge.

Shortly after, the phone rings and you notice that it's a phone ringing in your pocket. You reach in your pocket, surprised to find a cell phone when suddenly, a person (with several witnesses, of course) starts yelling "you stole my phone!"

And the local police that quickly show up to see what all the commotion is about are likely in on it as well.

You either end up paying a "fine" on the spot, or going to a Thai (or some other country) jail.

As much research as I have done on the internet, this little app has scams I've never heard of despite doing a ton of research.

While this app doesn't cover some scams I've read about on the internet, it has many that are not, so again, it's well worth the free or inexpensive download.

It also covers "Auto Scams" "Face to Face Scams" "Internet Scams" "Telephone Scams" and the above mentioned "Travel Scams"

And it has scams for just about every country where a tourist might go, not just SE Asia and many of the scams not in the Travel category are geared to those in the US

Also read about "The 5 stages of an assault" or 5 stages of violent crime" (Google search) as many of the principles apply to scams, such as selecting the victim, the "interview" process, etc...

Not sure if URL's are allowed, but here is an example: http://www.slideshare.net/JoshWaltzing/five-stages-of-violent-crime

This can save you from being assaulted at home or abroad, but the principles can also apply to recognizing scams as well.

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I nearly got caught out by this scam on my first visit to Thailand. I was approached in a mall by a Filipino who said his sister wanted to meet a foreigner. He took me to his bungalow on the back of his motorbike, but instead of the cute girl I was expecting there was a very evil looking guy waiting for me.. I'm sure he was a Filipino too.

They wanted me to go with them to an offshore gambling ship where I would place bets on their behalf and get a share of the winnings - a no lose situation they said

I was incredibly naive to go with the guy in the first place but managed to extricate myself from a very tricky situation by convincing them that my religion did not permit me to gamble

When they grudgingly dropped me back in town I went to the nearest shrine and 'made merit' as thanks for my redemption

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At least they took you back to town.

I had a group of friends take a group vacation to Hawaii many years ago and they made friends with a group of locals and partied with them on and off for a week.

Near the end of their trip, after they had trusted these locals, they ran out of "weed" and the locals were happy to take them to get some of the best "bud" in all of Hawaii.

Instead, they took them out to the middle of some Sugar Cane fields or a similar place and robbed them and left them out there, miles away from anything.

The police told them that location was where some gang of locals take people to kill them after they rob them and that they were lucky to be alive, something that these locals discussed doing to my friends but decided against it.

Some of these scammers will work on you for days, weeks and even months.

Some Expats will also prey on other Expats as well.

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There's a famous one in Shanghai as well, a pretty young Chinese girl approaches you on the street and invites you to a cafe to practice her English, you enjoy a nice tea, and then they give you a bill for a ridiculous amount, like 50,000 Baht, for a tea for two. The authorities have cracked down on it but I still saw warning posts about it in guesthouses in Shanghai.

Then there's the girls that seduce foreign men and entice them to bring them to a hotel. The "hotel" is actually a front owned by criminal groups who sneak in and steal wallets, etc., out of the victim's clothing.

Perhaps the posters who complain about 100 baht charges at the immigration office, or not being given 50 baht in change from a vegetable vendor, should consider it as a lesson for how to avoid much bigger scams! blink.pngblink.pngwai2.gifthumbsup.gifbiggrin.png

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There's a famous one in Shanghai as well, a pretty young Chinese girl approaches you on the street and invites you to a cafe to practice her English, you enjoy a nice tea, and then they give you a bill for a ridiculous amount, like 50,000 Baht, for a tea for two. The authorities have cracked down on it but I still saw warning posts about it in guesthouses in Shanghai.

Then there's the girls that seduce foreign men and entice them to bring them to a hotel. The "hotel" is actually a front owned by criminal groups who sneak in and steal wallets, etc., out of the victim's clothing.

Perhaps the posters who complain about 100 baht charges at the immigration office, or not being given 50 baht in change from a vegetable vendor, should consider it as a lesson for how to avoid much bigger scams! blink.pngblink.pngwai2.gifthumbsup.gifbiggrin.png

Yeah, I read about the "Tea" scam with the "Scam Detector" app on my Android Phone.

I don't remember if it's a free app or a very inexpensive one, but it's available for iPhones as well.

Interesting reading and covers over 500 various scams.

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