When Nady invested nearly $500 in what advertised as an online-based business from October 2023 to early January of this year, little did he know that he was being defrauded in a cyberscam.

To lure Nady and other innocents, the dubious business promised regular returns on investment. It was not until the group – which operated under a Facebook account – demanded more investments as deposit in exchange for a first profit withdrawal that he became suspicious and discontinued payments. The promised return was gone, and so was his nearly $500 investment.

Using a pseudonym out of family concerns, the resident of Siem Reap province recounts being lured by the Facebook account, purportedly belonging to a South Korean man named Lin. Instructed to deposit $50 daily for a $10 profit, Nady initially hesitated but eventually invested at the man’s insistence.

Nady admits that his greed led him to act irrationally for quick profits. 

“I share my story to prevent others from getting cheated, even if the amount I invested wasn’t significant. I only have myself to blame. My greed led me to believe the investment would yield handsome profits.

“I want to caution people against investing with dubious online businesses, especially given the increasing presence of purported investment firms in the country. Scamming is omnipresent across all social media platforms,” he warns. 

“To be candid, my income is modest. I initially believed that investing $50 daily would yield a $10 profit each day, and over a year, it would improve my livelihood,” he says.

Deceptive investment scheme

Before investing, Nady, despite limited English proficiency, attempted to research the online business’ history. He discovered its name, noted its purported investment activities and profits, and proceeded to invest. 

After realising that it was a fraud, he reported the deceptive scheme to the Ministry of Interior’s Anti-Cybercrime Department through their official social media account, urging them to take action against online scammers to prevent further deception and to raise awareness among the public about online fraudulence.

Nady’s scepticism about his latest investment resulted from his previous experience with a similar online scam. And the $500 he lost this time around pales in comparison to the $20,000 investment he made with a dubious online-based business in 2018.

In a meeting earlier this month, National Police chief Sar Thet directed all police units across the country to enhance their capabilities amidst the rapid advancement of digital technology. Currently, numerous people, particularly those from rural areas, have fallen prey to online trickery. Incidents of deceptive misrepresentation have been reported in Mondulkiri and Siem Reap provinces, as well as Phnom Penh.