Australian tourists are lifting the lid on an annoying Bali scam that they say could cost you heaps if you’re unaware.
A tourist first posted in a local travel group for Australians visiting Bali warning of the scam, and was inundated with responses. She said she had been approached by two strangers while in a bar in the popular beachside area of Legian.
As part of the scam, the strangers put money on the table, ask you to explain the currency and look at other currencies. As you talk and are distracted, they attempt to take your belongings.
“Yesterday I was in a bar on Legian and the older Indian couple approached me with $US2,” the traveller wrote. “They walked into the bar and put his money on our table. Asked me to explain how much it is.”
She said that while this happened: “The wife stood back eyeing off my friends handbag.
“They are out and about again. I just started yelling security and received the death stare from the man. They took off pretty quickly. The bar staff hid in fear.
“Lucky I had previously read about their scam.”
She continued: “Last week they tried it on someone else.”
Another traveller said he also encountered the scammers recently: “I saw the same couple last week. I said ‘google is your friend’ and walked off”.
So did this commenter: “Ask to see Aussie coins! If you get your purse/wallet out they snatch it and run and have their people waiting on motorbikes or in cars to drive off fast. Thankfully we read about it in here so said ‘no coins’ and walked on.”
Some said the scam has been happening for a long time.
“Been going on for years just say you haven’t got any or you don’t understand what they want,” one wrote.
“Same story been told over and over,” a fed-up traveller said. “Someone needs to tell the police.”
“These people have been doing this for months now outside Bintang supermarket as well,” a fifth person commented. “There’s lots of stories about them.”
While another explained how it worked: “They ask you to explain the money and as you explain they take your belongings.”
Apparently it’s very well planned: “They have backup, it’s a very professional scam, they work in teams. Often use children as well.”
Meanwhile, another tourist shared their story of a different scam in Bali.
“Worst scam is the survey scam … They ask if you would participate in a quick survey, find out what hotel your in and who you came with.
“If your (sic) out and about they have others on scooters, race back to your hotel, with all your details and go through your room.”
And earlier this year an Australian couple on holiday in Bali were left short changed after a money exchanger in the popular tourist town of Kuta scammed the duo out of 2.2 million rupiah.
It is understood, according to local media and police, that the scam took place on Padma Utara street in Kuta when the husband and wife exchanged $1175 or IDR11.9 million with the money changer.
According to local media Coconuts, the couple walked away from the money changer with around IDR2.2 million short, or around $215.