Money Changer Bali BEWARE

2nd day in Bali, been here already, but jetlagged, tired, a bit unattentive, in the evening I wanted to exchange 200 € to IDR. Found a good rate in the streets, on Jln Legian, near Ground Zero Memorial in Kuta, Bali… the guy showed me on the calculator the amount I was supposed to receive, which was 3.3 million, he prepared 3 bunches of small (50k) bills, supposedly 1 million, 1 million, then 1.3 million.

Here the trick/scam

I counted the first bunch of bills, it was 1 million. I did put them back on the table, to count the next bunch. The guy quickly touched them, supposedly to put them together nicely. Something inside of me told me “wtf? why is he touching my money I just counted?“. I should have told him directly not to touch after I counted… instead I counted the next bunch, put back the bunch on the table, he did the same. I had a plastic bag, like the ones you receive at the airport to put liquids. I did insert the first 2 bunches in the bag, before counting the last one, I thought if there is a trick I’d be safe… wrong. I should have put the money away directly after counting, not after he touched it… I counted the last bunch and it was 1.3 million. I did put it away directly, without letting him touch anything this time… but it was too late.

I arrived at the hotel, counted the money and it was only 2.3 million. The guy, just by “putting the money nicely together” managed to make 1 million disappear. It’s crazy, because I watched carefully his hands when he did it, but he was super fast. I guess these guys know some tricks like the magicians who are able to make card tricks etc.

So I learnt these big lesson the hard way

  • do not exchange big amounts (more than 1 million is considered a big amount)
  • when you count the money, have a bag or an envelope ready and put the money directly in your bag, do not let the guy touch your money after you count it
  • if the guy touches the money, politely say not to touch it and count it again or tell him to give you back your currency and go somewhere else

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