Border Visa Scam
This is the first scam that you may run into if traveling to Cambodia overland. The visa scam mostly happens on land passes. This one happened to me personally on the Meo Vac border pass from Vietnam.
First of all, the Cambodian tourist visa costs 35$ for a one month stay as of today. This is the first point that you should have in mind on the border crossing.
Once you set foot on the Cambodian side of the border pass, you will be approached by a few men who claim to be visa officers. They will politely ask you to sit down with them first. Then, they will ask you for your passport and passport-sized photos (51 x 51 mm) to fill out the visa form and ‘process’ the photos. This will cost you an additional 5$. Also, if you come to the border crossing with a motorbike, they will ask you to leave the helmets with them for safekeeping.
After you proceed with the bureaucratic procedure of obtaining the visa stamp, that’s where the scam occurs. When you come to your motorbike, the ‘visa officers’ won’t return your helmet if you don’t give them 10$ for ‘coffee’. There is no use asking the guards for assistance as the probably won’t know a word of English and thus can’t help you.
How to Avoid the Border Visa Scam?
The best way to avoid this scam is to not engage with anyone other than visa officials in the building. Just tell the fake visa officers that you have your visa. If they don’t restrain you, that will give you a huge hint that they are just crooks looking to squeeze out money from you.
Another solution is to get your visa online, which is more expensive, but at least you will be 100% safe from the scam!