Bali is a very safe place to travel. However, as with all major tourist destinations around the world, there are a few common scams that you need to aware of so you don’t get ripped off.
Today we will be talking about the common “Money Exchange Scam” in Bali.
This scam is simple. The money changer posts rates that are too good to be true. You get excited about it, give them U.S dollars, and then they give you Indonesian Rupiahs.
Later when you look at your money more closely, you’ll find that the changer did not give you the correct amount they owed. They gave you a few 10,000 Rupiah notes when they should have been 100,000 Rp notes.
So you go and confront they changer, but you know it is too late. You should have looked at it closer when they actually gave you the Rp.
But here is the tricky part. If you even touch the money as they hand it to you and then tell the money changer that some is missing, they will accuse YOU of being the cheat by pocketing the money. (You will not get your money back.)
The unfortunate reality in Bali is, this is a common scam.
So how do you protect yourself from this scam?
Well, you have three option:
1- Don’t use one of these changers found in the popular tourist areas. Exchange your money at the airport and look closely at what you get in return.
2- Use an ATM. I wrote about this previously, but you will get the best exchange rates by withdrawing from the ATM using your credit card.
3- Refuse to touch the money they give to you until the money changer slowly recounts it in front of you. I’ve done this a couple times, and when I catch the person trying to cheat me by leaving out a few notes, he gets upset and sends me away with my original U.S. dollars.
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You shouldn’t let this soil your opinion of Bali. EVERY city has certain scams that they target foreigners with. (Check out the very interested television show called, Scam City.)
Now that you know what this scam is and how to avoid it, you’ll have no more problems exchanging currency in Bali.
Hope this helps. Enjoy paradise!