10 Common Bali scams

Planning a trip to Bali? Great choice! It’s a stunning destination, but as with any popular tourist spot, there are some scams you should be aware of. Here’s a detailed rundown of common scams and tips to avoid them.

1. Taxi Scams: Meter Matters

In Bali, not all taxi drivers are upfront with fares. Some may refuse to use the meter or quote unreasonable prices. To avoid this:

Use Reputable Taxi Companies: Look for well-known companies like Blue Bird taxis.

Insist on the Meter: Always ask the driver to turn on the meter. If they refuse, find another taxi. 

Familiarize Yourself with Rates: Have a rough idea of what a trip should cost.

2. Money Changer Scams: Count Carefully

When changing money, some less scrupulous vendors might shortchange you. To prevent this:

Use Official Exchanges: Stick to reputable banks or authorized money changers.

Be Attentive: Watch the money changer count the money and recount it yourself before leaving.

Avoid Street Money Changers: They might offer better rates, but the risk of being scammed is higher.

3. ATM Skimming: Secure Your Transactions

ATM skimming involves stealing your card information. Keep your money safe by:

Using ATMs in Secure Locations: Choose ATMs in banks, malls, or well-lit areas. 

Inspecting the ATM: Look for any odd devices attached to the card slot or keypad. 

Covering the Keypad: Always cover your hand when entering your PIN.

4. The Overly Friendly Local: Kindness with a Catch

Balinese people are known for their friendliness, but be wary if someone is too eager to help. To avoid being misled:

Be Polite but Firm: It’s okay to refuse help or an offer if it feels off. 

Avoid Following Strangers to Unknown Places: Especially if they’re insistent on taking you to a specific shop or restaurant.

5. Motorbike Rental Scams: Document Everything

Renting a motorbike is a great way to explore Bali, but be cautious of rental scams. Protect yourself by:

Taking Photos: Document any existing damage before you ride off. 

Using Reputable Rental Services: Research and choose a well-reviewed rental service. 

Reading the Rental Agreement Carefully: Understand what you are liable for.

6. The Broken Camera Trick: A Picture-Perfect Scam

If someone asks you to take a photo with their camera and it “breaks,” they may demand payment. Avoid this by:

Using Your Own Camera: Offer to take the picture with your device instead. Politely Declining: If you’re uncomfortable, it’s okay to say no.

7. Beach Vendor Pressure: The Hard Sell

Bali’s beaches are beautiful, but beach vendors can sometimes be pushy. Handle this by:

Saying No Politely: A firm “no thank you” is often enough. 

Walking Away: If they persist, continue walking without engaging further.

8. Overpriced Tours: Shop Around

Tour prices in Bali can vary greatly. Ensure you’re getting a good deal by:

Comparing Prices Online: Check different platforms for reviews and prices. 

Negotiating: Don’t be afraid to haggle over the price.

9. The ‘Closed’ Temple Scam: Verify First

You might be told that a temple is closed and offered an alternative tour. To avoid this scam:

Check for Yourself: Temples have posted hours; verify them.

Ask Neutral Locals: Hotel staff or other tourists can be good sources of information.

10. Fake Police: Know Your Rights

Some scammers pose as police and try to fine tourists for bogus offenses. Protect yourself by:

Requesting Identification: Always ask to see their police ID.

Offering to Settle at a Police Station: If they’re scammers, they’ll likely back off.

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