Tourists warned about big Bali scam

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A woman was deported from Bali for installing skimming devices on ATMs across popular resorts, with Aussie tourists warned to stay cautious when using cash machines.

The 35-year-old Ukranian woman, identified by her initials BK, was sentenced to two years and 10 months in prison and fined IDR 100,000,000 – about $10,000 – by the Denpasar District Court in 2022.

She was deported from the island last week to Poland over the skimming case, according to The Bali Sun.

A skimmer is a device installed on card readers that collects card numbers which are then replicated into counterfeit cards.

“The BK case is a clear example of the Bali Ministry of Law and Human Rights’ commitment to maintaining state sovereignty and protecting the public from law violations,” Pramella Y. Pasaribu, head of the Bali Regional Office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights told the publication.

“We will continue to improve co-ordination with related agencies and strengthen supervision of the presence of foreigners in the Bali region.”

It comes as the latest deportation figures reveal 318 foreigners were denied entry into Bali with 132 not having an Indonesian visa.

Following the ATM skimming device scam, Aussies and tourists alike have been advised to use machines that are within banks or trusted spaces and where possible, avoid using ATMs that are placed on the street.

Tourists warned about Bali money scam

Travellers should look out for telltale signs such as of tampering or additional readers being stuck on top.

“Look for signs of tampering or features that don’t fit with how the rest of the ATM looks, such as if the keypad is overly raised or looks too shiny and new,” Finder advises.

“Also look out for tiny cameras that could be planted anywhere around the machine (which may be used to capture your PIN as you enter it).

“If you notice any of these suspicious signs at the ATM, do not use it.”

Last year, a tourist revealed how a fraudster had placed a handwritten “broken” sign over the card slot of an Commonwealth Bank machine in an attempt to lure people to use a nearby ATM that was reportedly fitted with a card-skimming device.

“Three or four people came through and went to go use the next ATM over, but I told them the ATM was fine, so they could use the Commbank one,” the traveller wrote in a Facebook post.

“The [man] kept on watching me like he was angry; as soon as I walked away, I watched him put another sign on it.”

Aussies have also been warned about other scams targeting tourists including a “coin scam”.

A woman took to a travel group for Australians visiting Bali on Facebook explaining how a known family, not local to the island, would go around asking Aussies if they can look at their money in an attempt to steal their wallets.

Angus Kidman, travel expert at Finder, said no matter where you’re travelling, being cautious with your wallet and cash was essential.

“Pickpocketing and theft are always a risk in any popular tourist area,” he told news.com.au.

“If someone asks to see your Australian money, an easy response is ‘not carrying any mate – don’t need Aussie currency here.’

“Don’t ruin your trip with paranoia – just exercise sensible basic precautions.”

According to Cover-More, other common travel scams in Bali include taxi drivers and monkey thieves at popular temples.

“Don’t negotiate fares with unofficial taxi drivers as they may use tactics like a broken metre, take a longer route, or charge far above the going rate. Take a reputable, official taxi instead,” Cover-More advises.

Currency exchange scams are also common with Cover-More advising to be aware of “official” looking money exchanges that will advertise a great rate, but offer the wrong change, miscount your money or handover invalid banknotes.

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