Being famous as one of the most-wanted destinations around the globe, Bali has thousands of tourists coming each year. Like many other popular destinations, there are many annoying scams in Bali that you should know. Here are some scams in Bali and how to avoid them.

Taxi driver scam

When you hail a taxi on the street, some taxi drivers may charge you with an unreasonable rate without a meter – as you might not know the reasonable market price if you did not do prior research. If you use a meter taxi, they can also take a long ride to grab the money out of your pockets. This is one of the most common scams in Bali you can find.

How to avoid it:

  • In Ngurah Rai International Airport Bali, you can order the official airport taxi, which has fixed prices for each destination areas around Bali.
  • You can download the “My Blue Bird” app on your mobile phone or call them in the 24/7 hotline, to get one of the trusted taxi services around the island.  Be mindful if you decide to hail Blue Bird Taxi on the street, as there are plenty of very similar blue taxis.
  • If you think Blue Bird is still quite expensive, you can try to download the online transportation apps like Grab or Go-Jek. However, please note that some local driver communities in some touristy areas, such as Ubud, Canggu, etc., will not allow you to order or ride the online transportation from those areas, although they still allow the drop-off.
  • Learn more details about the best Bali transportation to get around before your visit.

Money changer scam

In some money changers, particularly small kiosks by the road which offer high exchange rates, the vendors’ hands might be faster than you could imagine or see, and perhaps it will be too late when you realize that you receive less money than it’s supposed to be.

How to avoid it:

  • Always count the money yourself before leaving the cashier desk, and put them into the envelope by yourself. Never let the money go out of your hands after you count it right.
  • Find the trusted and authorized money changers, usually, they have decent places with air-con, proper waiting room, cashier windows, and security guard. If you stop by their websites, you might also find that they have many branches and good reviews.
  • Before you change your money, always make sure if they charge you for commission.

ATM skimming

ATM skimming is one of the most worrying scams in Bali in the past few years when the criminals put a device on the face of an ATM, which happens to be a part of the machine, to gather account data from the inserted or swiped cards; they plant this data into the blank bank cards and use them to access the funds in the victims’ accounts. Although the banks have taken some actions to prevent this from happening again in the future, it is better to be safe than sorry.

How to avoid it:

  • Try to withdraw the cash from an ATM inside a bank.
  • Wherever you are, always cover your hands as you type in your PIN number into the ATM.
  • Set the transaction notifications on and be sent to you through SMS or email, and check your balance regularly. Once you identify unknown transactions, contact your bank fast to report it and freeze your account temporarily during the investigation.

Tour guide scam

When you get into a temple or any other attractions, you might have a guide latched on you during the trip and offer a free tour, which is too good to be true. Inevitably, at the end of the tour, they might ask you for a donation, which can be hard to refuse. In another case, you might be overcharged for a sarong to cover your legs before entering a temple.

How to avoid it:

  • If you don’t want to ‘donate’ for a guide, keep walking forward, refuse politely and firmly from the start.
  • If you want to pay for a guide, make sure that the guide is licensed with a valid ID or pass and get the official receipt for your payment.
  • Wear a modest outfit or bring your own sarong, which can be bought in any markets or souvenir shops in Bali.

“No price tag” scam

When you shop in the market, or somewhere with no price tags (either products or services), this one of the most common scams in Bali can happen to you with overpriced items to pay for.

How to avoid it:

  • Always ask and agree on the price before you buy (a product or service).
  • For an item, you knew you wanted to buy, do some research about the fair price.
  • If you hesitate about the price offered, try to walk to some other shops selling the same item to find out about the average price.
  • Be mindful about bargaining the right amount: to avoid making the seller upset with an underpriced offer, or to avoid buying an overpriced item.
  • Try to shop in the shop with price tags, including the affordable souvenir shop chain like Krisna Oleh Oleh Bali.

Police check

If you decided to rent and ride the motorbike or car in Bali, be prepared with the occasional police check. If possible, try to avoid handing over your passport over for any reason, as you’ll have to pay to get them back. They will find an excuse to fine you illegally for Rp.100.000,- up to Rp.300.000,-.

How to avoid it:

  • Wear the helmet and avoid breaking any rules.
  • Rent the car with the driver to take you going anywhere according to your itinerary.
  • Have your international driving license ready.
  • If you cannot waste their time by keeping arguing to make them let you go, keep only a small amount of money in a ‘fake’ wallet without any bank cards, and negotiate the ‘fine’ down up to the amount of money you have in your fake wallet (can be between Rp.50.000,- to Rp.100.000,-)