You do have to be careful when travelling overseas to be aware of the many scams that are around. Here are some of the more common scams in Bali
The Timeshare Scam
Timeshares are not a new thing and have been around for decades.
Legitimate ones can be good when sold properly, offering great holidays together with investment opportunities.
But people are being scammed when visiting Bali.
A friendly guy or lady will approach you on the beach or along the main tourist strip, and start with their mild sales pitch and present you with a ‘lucky scratch n’ win’ of some sort.
Amazingly you just happen to be ‘very lucky’ and ‘win’!
If there is a group of you one of you may ‘win’ the ‘big’ prize.
But to claim your prize, you must go to a certain place with them, which could be a nearby booth, office, or a far hotel, where they record your name and contact details.
You will then have to sit through a long presentation on timeshare resorts, together with all the hard sell pitches and special hard-to-resist discounted prices.
If you don’t buy then and there, they still have your contacts and you’ll hear from them again sooner or later.
If you still insist you don’t want to buy but would like to claim your prize, well good luck with that!!!!
So the best way to Avoid being scammed in the first place is to smile politely, say ‘No Thanks’ and continue on your way.
The Bali Police Scam
Police officers in Bali are quite corrupt. Corruption is rampant at the more popular tourist hotspots in Bali, where the police are on the lookout for tourists on rented motorbikes or cars.
The Police will often stop tourists on scooters, bikes or cars for any minor violation
It could be anything from an issue with your helmet to a request for your international license. They’ll ask you to follow them to the police station, unless you’d like to pay a fine upfront.
These ‘fines’ are mostly in the form of bribes, which you can pay immediately.
If you’re driving in Bali, make sure you have an international driver’s license and be especially careful to follow all rules on the road. Avoid police while driving, if you can, and be prepared to get stopped if you can’t.
Know that you can also try to negotiate the “fine” down and keeping a small amount of cash with your license and seperate from your wallet is a good idea, as the more money they see the higher the fine.
Usually the fines are between 50,000 and 100,000 rupiah.
The Money Changer Scam
Always try to use the authorised money changers, never the ones that lead down an alley or into the back of a store.
If they are offering an exchange rate that seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
One scam is to use a calculator that is ‘rigged’ and doesn’t give you the correct rate, so always do your own calculations on how much money you should be receiving. A quick use of your phone calculator app will put your mind at ease.
Also double check and count all the notes yourself. Often the money will be counted in front of you but then a note or two might be dropped without you noticing.
The Indonesian currency consists of notes that have an awful lot of zeros, so do take care that you don’t miss a ‘zero’ or two.
The Taxi Scam
You should never agree to a fixed rate before getting in a taxi from any taxi company. Fixed rates can be much more expensive than a metered rate to the same destination. The meter should be on and set to 6000 Rupiah. If a driver claims the meter is broken, or makes some other excuse, just get out and find another cab.
Always have some small Rupiah change, as it is common for drivers to say they don’t have change.
Bluebird Taxi’s are known to be reputable and reliable. BlueBird drivers are obliged to use the meter .
Check you are using a genuine BlueBird Taxi, they will have “Blue Bird Group” printed across the windshield and a taxi identification number (such as “RB 1540”) clearly displayed. The drivers wear blue uniforms and have their ID mounted on the dashboard.