‘Dirty trick’: Bali tourist scam strikes again

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Bali tourists have been warned about a money-exchange scam that continues to catch out foreigners.

The scam has been brought back into the spotlight after claims a currency exchange worker in the Sanur, in the southeast of the island, had allegedly attempted to pocket an undisclosed amount of Indonesian Rupiah from a female tourist.

In a clip shared by Instagram account ‘deck_sotto’, the woman can be seen heading back inside HoneyWhiskey Tailors, where the money exchange kiosk is located, to confront the staffer after having realised she was cut short.

Tourist confronting a teller after allegedly being scammed

She was reportedly assisted by her host who was recording the conversation and can be heard saying, “Sorry, you give me one mil’ less, not enough. You give me four not five”.

The male host could also be heard scolding the money exchanger and telling her that she’s in the wrong.

“This video was sent to me by my friend Mr. Tako. The guest who stayed at his homestay exchanged some money in a money changer (which I believe is a wild money changer without permission), and the money received does not match the nominal agreed,” the clip caption read, according to The Bali Sun.

“This is a dirty classic [trick] that seems to be “protected” in Sanur, and it harms tourists and certainly tarnishes the tourism image.”

The scam involves the staffer counting the money in front of the tourist and swiping as many notes as they can onto the desk below, before handing the cash over.

According to The Bali Sun, the tourist counts along and sees the correct amount of notes in front of them.

But just as the staffer collects the money from the counter top to handover to the tourist, they very quickly put some of the cash out of sight.

This is why it’s recommended tourists count the cash out again while at the store before leaving.

It’s also advised tourists look for up-to-date licenses from kiosks or do money exchanges at official places like banks and report scams to local police.

Last year, an Aussie traveller praised a Balinese local on social media for alerting her to the scam.

The woman said she was very surprised to learn she had been stung by the shop worker, as she thought she had been cautious and had checked she had received the right amount, counting her money over and over again.

Tourists warned about Bali money scam

“I used a non authorised user, countered the money three times and then later in the day, my driver said check money now (sic), and I couldn’t believe it, it was much less,” the woman posted in the Bali Bogans Facebook group.

Luckily for her, upon realising she had been swindled, her driver sprung into action.

“My driver drove me back to that person, and told him to give me my money back or he will call police (sic).

“ … He’s the best. He sees this happen all the time. This is one good reason to have a personal driver for your whole stay.”

The money changer gave the money back, before asking the pair to leave.

“He did not argue, did not apologise, just gave me my money back and told me to and my driver to get out,” she said.

Meanwhile, another scam tourists have been warned about is skimming devices on ATMs.

It comes as a 35-year-old Ukranian woman was sentenced to two years and 10 months in prison and fined IDR 100,000,000 – about $10,000 – by the Denpasar District Court in 2022, over a skimming case.

A skimmer is a device installed on card readers that collects card numbers which are then replicated into counterfeit cards.

Travellers have been advised to use machines that are within banks or trusted spaces and where possible, avoid using ATMs that are placed on the street.

“Look for signs of tampering or features that don’t fit with how the rest of the ATM looks, such as if the keypad is overly raised or looks too shiny and new,” Finder advises.

“Also look out for tiny cameras that could be planted anywhere around the machine (which may be used to capture your PIN as you enter it).

“If you notice any of these suspicious signs at the ATM, do not use it.”

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