A “Baby Milk” scam is targeting tourist hot spots in Cambodia.

The scam involves a mum approaching you on the street. She asks you to buy her some baby formula so she can feed her starving child.

You agree feeling heartbroken for them both.

She will lead you into a nearby supermarket (conveniently of her choosing), where you pay a large sum for a can of baby formula.

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As soon as you’re out of sight, she creeps back into the store — where she has a prearranged relationship with the owner — and sells it back to him.

They split the profit, and that formula goes right back on the shelf.

Lina Goldberg, author of  Move To Cambodia: A Guide to Living and Working in the Kingdom of Wonder, told news.com.au the scam has been going on for years and is difficult to contain.

“It’s hard to say no, and many well-meaning visitors have bought large cans of overpriced formula in Siem Reap’s Pub Street area,” said Lina, who first moved to the country in 2010.

“Once they get their selfie with the hungry baby and head back to their hotel, the woman returns the milk to the store for cash, and starts the process over again.

“A single baby can be bought a dozen cans of formula a night.”

“Well-meaning tourists might not think it matters if it’s a scam or not,” said Lina. “Money is still going to a poor Cambodian family, right?

“Unfortunately, buying baby milk perpetuates a situation where older children are kept up all night and out of school so they can beg on the street, and babies and toddlers, possibly borrowed or rented from their mothers, are kept swaddled and unable to walk.”

milk scam

Child protection organisation ChildSafe has English-language posters set up prominently around town, on street poles and in toilet cubicles, which warn tourists that “this is often a scam and harmful for children”.

More details on News.com.au

Have you been caught out at all while travelling?

Share your comments below.

Image via getty

  • that is sad that they exploit the kids like that. very sad that they have to do that for money


  • Awful that people stoop to this, leaves us trusting very few people.


  • It’s so hard to be compassionate when there are so many scams.


  • its so easy to give in when we see children walking at night. I did once years ago in thailand gave a child a coin then all of a sudden a group of kids came to me following me. bad move, it was like a flock of seagulls. my parents had to drag me in front of them. i was 15yrs old that time. These days we we try to give and its the risk to take. Cant trust anyone now days. i have asked my parents how do people buy so much stuff for their shop when they say they dont have much money. So i now look at quality before i buy.


  • Articles like this make me so sad that there are so many needy families in the world.


  • Oh my! I went to Cambodia years ago and nothing like this happened. Really scary!!


  • So sad that this is what these families need to do to get by.


  • Sad indeed that the money comes in the wrong hands. Better to give to safe organisations who control and check what money is given, where it goes and how it is used.


  • So sad. Who comes up with these ideas?
    I find it terrible


  • So sad that you cannot really trust anyone to tell the truth.


  • It is possible it happens in other countries too. What I detest most is the fact that the babies are not allowed to walk as young as they should be.


  • Everywhere we go , people have to be wary of others trying to make money out of them. Glad there are warnings up but as the article stated some do not care.


  • It is something to beaware of if travelling there!


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