Bali Police cracking down on dishonest money changers in Kuta

A money changer in Kuta. Photo: Obtained.
A money changer in Kuta. Photo: Obtained.

In response to an Australian couple becoming victims to a money changer scam in Legian last week, Bali Police have stated that they aim to locate dishonest currency exchanges in the island’s tourism hotspots and bring them to justice.

As previously reported, a husband and wife from down under 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 (US$146) based on the agreed rate.

The money changer was immediately shut down and blacklisted by local officials.

Read also: Australian couple fall victim to Kuta money changer scam

While money changer scams are not exactly new on the island (this online discussion on TripAdvisor from 10 years ago really goes deep into the problem), this latest case could be disheartening especially as Bali only recently welcomed international tourists after being forced to close down for two years due to the pandemic.

Bali Police says it is hunting down fraudulent money changers. They said that last Tuesday, the police, with the support from village authorities, Satpol PP (Public Order Agency), and the Central Bank located 16 illegal money changers in the Kuta area.

All of them were immediately shut down.

“We immediately ordered the Denpasar Police and the Kuta Police to [put them] in order,” Bali Police spokesman Stefanus Satake Bayu Setianto said yesterday.

Stefanus said that the existence of fraudulent money changers may cause distress among tourists and could negatively affect Bali’s image as a world class tourist destination.

On the other hand, he also suggested that people pay close attention during an exchange, and to only choose legit and licensed money changers.

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