Tourists in Bali are being armed about a new scam on the island.
While Bali is known to be a safe tourist destination, as the annual high season gets underway on the island, data suggests there is always a small spike in crime against tourists.
This scam is affecting holidaymakers in the Seminyak area, though the trick could be replicated elsewhere on the resort island. One holidaymaker came forward on social media to shed light on their experiments of using an ATM in the area.
The traveler wrote their story on a social media post that has gathered a huge response from fellow Bali lovers. In the post, he explained that he had tried to use a Commonwealth Bank ATM in the Seminyak area. Only, upon entering the ATM booth, he found a handwritten sign reading ‘broken’ over the card reader.
The traveler believes that the Commonwealth Bank ATM was not, in fact, broken but that the sign was put there to divert tourists in need to cash to another ATM nearby that was fitted with a card-skimming device.
@hoointheworld #bali #scam #indonesia @Bank Indonesia @bank_indonesia_bali ♬ original sound – Damian Hoo 🇦🇺 – hoointheworld
The tourist told the social media group that he spied a local man returning to the Commonwealth Bank ATM with a number of ties reaped in the sign on the card reader as a way to encourage tourists to use another machine.
The traveler wrote, “Three or four people came through and went to go use the next ATM over, but I told them the ATM was fine, so they could use the Commbank one.”
He added, “The [man] kept on watching me like he was angry; as soon as I walked away, I watched him put another sign on it.”
@andreaboldbodytravels Avoid being scammed out of your money when exchanging it for local currency in Bali #baliscam #traveltok #balitravel #solotravel ♬ Players – Coi Leray
Other tourists shared similar experiences in the comments section of the post and urged their fellow holidaymakers to stay diligent.
Some highlighted that if an ATM machine is actually broken, then a display message would appear on the screen, or the screen would be blank.
Some noted that they use a traveler’s cash card, like those available to platforms like Wise or Revolut, to protect their main bank accounts while traveling abroad.
Travelers heading to Bali are urged to keep their wits about them when using ATMs on the island and maintain silence for the tell-tale signs of ATM tampering. This includes checking the card reader on an ATM for clear signs of tampering or additional readers being stuck on top.
Advice for money safety anywhere in the world includes setting daily ATM limits on banking apps to prevent huge losses in the event of a card skimming.
Generally speaking, it is advisable to use ATMs that are within banks or trusted spaces. Where possible, avoid using ATMs that are placed on the street or inside mini supermarkets.
As the peak season is getting underway in Bali, it is worth reminding tourists about other common scams that the authorities are working to stamp out on the island.
This included dodgy money exchange outlets. The traditional leadership council in Kuta and Seminyak have been working alongside the Bank of Indonesia to crack down on illegitimate money changers in the popular resort towns.
Over the last few months, there have been numerous viral videos of tourists filming so-called money exchange tellers in the act of scamming holidaymakers out of money.
The trick they use is to count the change money on the top of the counter, and then as they pile the cashback together, they quickly swipe a few notes back under the counter as they hand the rest over to the tourists.
Speaking earlier in the year, officials conducted spot checks on money-changing outlets in Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak.
Officials closed down premises that were operating without the correct business permits, though speculation suggests that some may have reopened again.
To be on the safe side, tourists wishing to exchange money should do so at a bank, their hotel, or a money-changing outlet that displays in-date business permits and licenses.
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