TOURIST SCAMS IN BALI
No place in the world is free from scams. Each and every place has its own share of scams. That said, it should not deter you from visiting a particular place. The trick here is just to keep an eye on the surroundings and as the old adage goes "What seems too good to be true is probably too good to be true!"
I have listed a few scams which may help you and keep you alert so that you can enjoy your holidays in peace.
Scam Number 1:
"The classic money exchange scam"
The most prevalent scam is the money exchange scam. These fraudsters will do sleight of hand and give you less money during exchange. These fraud exchanges are normally present in Kuta area although it may be present in other areas as well. They lure tourists by advertising high exchange rates in the signboards. When the gullible tourist walks in, they will exchange the money without even the tourist realizing that he or she has been ripped off. Only after you count the money will you realize that you have less money.
(a) Do not exchange money which provide excellent exchange rates. The maximum variation in exchanges will be 100-200 rupiah. If 1 USD is IDR 13200, then genuine exchange will provide rates in the region of 13000-13400 IDR. Fraud exchanges will advertise rates like 1 USD = IDR 14000 or may even advertise as 1 USD = IDR 15000. Don't fall for it!
(b) Do not exchange money in shops which are inside an alley or a dark lane.Although genuine exchanges may exist,I will not recommend it. Genuine exchanges are stand outs in the main lanes with glass enclosed professional looking shops.
Scam Number 2:
"The Taxi Fare Scam"
After just getting out of the airport, you will be flooded with taxi drivers because there is a cartel present at the airport. You must have high luck to get an Uber at the airport. If you get one, I doubt you will be allowed to get into your Uber at the airport by these taxi drivers. Taxis at the airport normally don't have meters and so you must bargain beforehand. The normal prices range between IDR 80,000 to IDR 100,000 to Kuta, Jimbaran and Seminyak, while the farther areas such as Sanur and Nusa Dua will cost you around IDR 125,000.
Scam Number 3:
"The Two Wheeler Scam"
You reach your hotel after a long and tiring journey,freshen up and then want to explore the area. You want to rent a two wheeler because that's the easiest way to explore the island which has huge traffic jams. The price is also great and so you rent a scooty for a day or two.Now what happens.
There are two scenarios:
(a) When you go to return the scooty after using it, the person will point out some scratches which were present previously and you didn't notice. No amount of argument will solve it until and unless you pay them "damage charges" for the scooty. Hence, be extra vigilant and point out even minor scratches to them before renting out.
(b) This scenario is frightening. You park your scooty and go to the beach or shopping mall only to find out later when you return that the scooty isn't at the place where you had parked. You search for it frantically but cannot find it. Ultimately you are forced to pay the price of the scooty to the owner.What happens here is that there are some cartels which steal their own two wheelers with a master key and then force you to pay money. Although this is rare, but its a possibility.
Scam Number 4:
"The Chicken Scam"
"What!". Did i read it right?! "What on earth is a chicken scam?" Well, in simple terms, chicken scam is a scam in which you are fed dog meat and not chicken. Yuck!
Actually this was prevalent a few years ago. It may not be present now but be careful. Chicken Satay vendors in beach areas are the normal culprits. Have chicken or meat at reputed restaurants. If you eat street food, try to eat chicken wings because that is comparatively safe!
Scam Number 5:
"The Commission Driver Scam"
Although this is not a scam per se, but it will eat up your holiday time. Drivers will try to take you to boutique shops, restaurants, and places where you are least interested. Because, these drivers will get a commission from your sales. You will be charged more by these shops because they will obviously pay the money to the driver from your money. Be firm to the driver on the places that you want to go.
Scam Number 6:
"The crying guide"
Well,this is another scam where a person will come up to you as a guide and say that he will show around the place for free as a part of government promotion. You are happy that you are receiving a guide for free. After the tour is over, he will request you for a small donation rather piteously. You have to pay him the amount as he will continue to linger with you.
"Have you encountered any scams in your visit to Bali?" Feel free to drop your experiences.
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