More than a year into the Covid-19 pandemic in Cambodia, the Ministry of Interior’s anti-cyber crime department has investigated and disrupted 10 different fraudulent schemes on social media, with some cases sent to the courts.
Anti-cybercrime department director Chea Pov told The Post on July 11 that this was a relatively small amount of crime overall. He said his department credits their efforts to spread the word and educate people for the low number of incidents.
During the pandemic, he said, most people stayed at home during the lockdowns and often used social media to buy goods online. But when some people’s goods were delivered to them late due to the lockdown, they thought that they had been cheated and filed complaints to the department prematurely when that was not actually the case.
“The government told citizens not to go anywhere when unnecessary. So, before deciding to buy goods online, I ask them to check out the goods and the seller thoroughly. Before transferring money, they should phone and get the names of the sellers and make sure they are for real,” he said.
Pov stated that social media frauds such as fake charities or fake loans were happening less. However, he asked citizens and social media users to check the formal pages of companies, organizations and government bodies before sending money anywhere.
Im Sothy, a technology specialist and the executive director of the Youth Council of Cambodia (YCC) said it appeared that there were many fraudulent schemes being run on social media directed at Cambodians and this was because Cambodians had yet to acquire deeper knowledge or sophistication about using technology and social media.
He said the government, through specialist bodies, should have a cyber law to control technology and social media so that people won’t get cheated by criminals and that authorities should spread the word so that people will learn to use social media and the internet cautiously.
“Internet scams and social media frauds have been reported often. Some people cry because they’ve been cheated, but we don’t know for sure until they go complain to the authorities … at the Ministry of Interior. They now have the expertise to … crack down on this fraud,” Sothy said.