Australian couple fall victim to Kuta money changer scam

File photo showing a money changer in Legian, Kuta being shut down for scamming tourists in July 2022. Photo: Obtained.
File photo showing a money changer in Legian, Kuta being shut down for scamming tourists in July 2022. Photo: Obtained.

A money changer in Kuta was shut down by the authorities yesterday after it had reportedly scammed an Australian couple and caused them to suffer IDR2.2 million (US$146) in losses.

Legian’s Community Development Agency (LPM) Chief I Wayan Puspa said yesterday that the scam took place on Tuesday afternoon at a money changer on Padma Utara Street.

A husband and wife from Australia who were traveling on the Island of Gods exchanged US$800 with the money changer at a rate of IDR14,000 per US dollar. Once they arrived back at their hotel, they realized that they were short IDR2.2 million based on the agreed rate.

“The guests found out after they counted [the money] themselves. [They] didn’t get a receipt. [They] should’ve gotten the receipt,” said Wayan.

The couple returned to the money changer to complain.  The case was later brought to the attention of LPM and the bureau decided to shut down the money changer and cut off their electricity for the alleged scam. 

“In other words, the business has been blacklisted in Legian and [they] are not allowed to re-enter,” Wayan added.

The case itself was resolved without any charges pressed and the money changer returned the money to the Australians. On the other hand, Wayan said that he called upon the police, the Indonesian Central Bank, and the Association of Foreign Currency Traders (APVA) to pay attention to illegal money changers.

Money changing scams are not uncommon on the tourism island. In 2019, a video of a tour guide yelling at a money changer for scamming a tourist went viral and the guide received kudos for protecting the integrity of Bali.

That being said, do be mindful when exchanging money in Bali (or anywhere, really) by making sure that the place you enter is legit and certified.

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