Blackjack scam

This scam is run by a Filippino gang at major cities all over South-East Asia. Victims have been reported in Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia, and the Modus Operandi is exactly the same in each country.

Phnom_Penh-scam-blackjackThe targeted victims are male and sometimes female tourists traveling solo in a big city. Most likely when walking or resting in one of the parks, the targeted victims are approached by a friendly looking local, who starts up a conversation with them, asking questions to make sure they are traveling solo, this is their first visit to the country, and have just arrived. They also find out where the traveler is from, and then mention that coincidentally one of their relatives or friends is about to leave for that same country to work or study. This act is played very naturally, so an unsuspecting victim isn’t alarmed at first.

Also read: I escaped the Cambodia Blackjack scam just in time

The tourist is then invited to follow the scammer to their place, so they can explain a little about the do’s and don’ts of their home country to the relative that’s about to go there. In return, a meal will be prepared for the tourist. What the victim isn’t aware of, is that this is all just a play, designed to rob him or her from thousands of Dollars. The food that is served, is often drugged with a substance that makes the victim susceptible to manipulation (often GHB or rohypnol is used), and the tourist is then invited to practice a Blackjack scam to trick another gambler out of his money. This may seem like something most people wouldn’t fall for, but the scam wouldn’t be so successful if nobody fell for it, and the internet is full of stories of victims who claim they can’t believe they fell for it. The drugs that were put in the food may have had something to do with becoming an easier prey as well.

Phnom_Penh-blackjack-scamAfter some practice, the game will be played for real, with some initial success to make the victim feel confident. When the stakes rise, the tourist is encouraged to put down a large sum of money of his own, which he can “borrow” from one of the other players of whom he thinks is in on the trick. But that’s when his luck changes for the worst and he or she loses all of their money and are escorted to an ATM to pay off their loan.

Reports of victims losing thousands of Dollars in this scam are not uncommon and can be found all over the internet. Be warned if someone approaches you and starts a similar conversation as described above. Kindly thank them and walk away, don’t go into a taxi with them and never eat any of the food you’re offered in such situations. In case you do get invited for lunch with an honest and sincere Cambodian family, but are still suspicious because of this scam, only eat the food that the others eat as well, and stay away from anything that’s served specially for you.

Find experiences from real victims or post your own story in our Phnom Penh and Cambodia Tourist Scams Forum.

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