Online naming and shaming is nothing new. But threatening to publicize someone’s debt details if they don’t accept “a debt settlement offer” is the latest mode of extortion from some online fraudsters in the country.
Magnate Tea Vichet, president of the Provincial Association of Transport Agents of Preah Sihanouk and nephew of General Tea Banh, Minister of Defence, is the latest victim of such an online “debt clearing house”.
Unlike other victims, he came forward to file a formal complaint and announced that he will not stop until the scammers who posted messages asking him for money are arrested.
The tycoon posted his experience on his Facebook page amid reports that several people have been duped by an ‘online business’ which extorts money under the guise of offering help clearing people’s debts.
Tycoon Vichet is the latest high profile victim of this online fraud. The modus operandi is to contact the victims via Facebook, then threaten to name and shame by making their debts public online, if the victims do not agree to their scheme.
Vichet said he was contacted by a fake account holder named “Chhey Lii” who said he should clear his debts immediately or face the consequences. To her surprise, the fraudster posted her name and photo on Facebook, which caused her to report the incident to the police.
Another victim named Vannak Nim posted on her Facebook page that she couldn’t believe the online lending company dared to post her details and threatened to pay them money.
She has already approached a group of lawyers to sue the online lending company and delete their post about her.
Popular TV host Sok Rasy also fell prey to this gang. He said a woman contacted him and told him, being the guarantor of the debt, that he had to pay back the money someone had lent to his business.
Faced with his refusal, the fraudsters posted a video of him on social networks.
Lt. Gen. Chea Pov, director of the Cybercrime Prevention Department, said online fraud is rampant because technology is used everywhere by everyone.
He said 20 victims of online fraud had filed complaints with the Department, adding that law enforcement could do nothing if the victims did not file complaints. He added that sometimes victims never press charges.
He also called on the public to report online fraud to TCP and file complaints.
Am Sam Ath, deputy director of human rights group Licadho, said: “We observe that if the authorities do not tackle this online scam in a timely manner, we will see many more victims of fraud. on line.
He also said that some greedy Cambodians with little knowledge of financial loans have gone online to borrow money at high interest rates, which makes it difficult for them to repay their creditors, so they take pictures of them. online and post them on social media.
- Key words: debt clearing house, Thé Vichet