Where there is a major imbalance between the ‘wealth’ of the traveller and the wealth of the local population you will find scams of one sort or another.  Cambodia is no exception.  Some scams catch the foolish, some catch those who let their guard down and don’t respond to their gut feelings, but the nastiest of all targets the kindness of visitors.

In both Siem Reap and Phnom Penh it is common to see young girls carrying crying babies begging for money.

A particularly nasty scam that happens in Siem Reap is the ‘baby milk scam’  Bedraggled ‘mothers’ or ‘sisters’ holding a baby ask visitors passing a convenience stores to ‘buy milk powder for baby’ and those with a kind heart cannot bear the thought of a baby going without food. A variation on this is young children, perhaps 5 or 6 years old approaching westerners, asking them to buy them some milk. The scam seems to function in the central area of Siem Reap,; including targeting ATM users around Pub Street area, particularly if close to a small supermarket/ convenience store.

 The scam works like this:  Kind hearted visitor goes into the shop and buys a tin of infant formula (often at inflated prices, not that you would know this) and gives it to the mother/sister.  The mother/sister (who by the way is usually no relation to the crying child) takes it round the back of the shop and sells it back to the shop.  The money is then split between the shop keeper, and the boss (who has ‘employed’ said mother or sister and is usually off to one side watching) and the mother/sister (who might actually only get a few riel).  The tin goes back on the shelf waiting for the next kind hearted stranger.

Difficult as it is not to ‘feed’ a hungry crying baby, you must not only resist, but you must spread the word of this scam.  It is the only way it will ever be stamped out. 

Beware of Orphanange Donation scam, A well-dressed man will come up to you and share that he is a police man and a Teacher. He has a family and is helping out one or two orphanage inviting you to visit the orphanage which is 2 hours away from Siem Reap Citiy.

As it is likely that you will not have the time to visit the Orphanage. He will request for donation, showing with photos of an orphanage and request you to write down your name, email address on a a donation name list which contained. Mostly indicated with 50 dollars donation.

He will inform you that he will email you the link to the Orphanage website, but never did.

This scam was last encountered in Nov 2014 at Royal Gardens, Siem Reap https://goo.gl/maps/gYbzL