Bali clamps down on illegal moneychangers targeting unsuspecting tourists

Foreign tourists walk past a moneychanger in Bali. Pic: AP

BALI may drive in hordes of tourists for its pristine beaches and lively beach bars, but on a smaller scale, it’s also notorious for illegal moneychangers.

Unlicensed moneychangers are a common problem in Bali, some which charge higher rates or commit fraud to unsuspecting tourists.

But the village community of Kuta are taking matters into its own hands. A special squad was formed to monitor the activities of moneychangers in the area.

Wayan Swarsa, the chief of Kuta Village, said the decision to form the supervisory team was made at a village gathering. Teams were tasked to monitor and call out unauthorized moneychangers for a two-year period.

After clampdowns by a team of 30 Kuta village members, about 19 illegal operations have been forced to shut down. Warnings have also been issues to shop owners who rent out space to illegal money changing operators.

Chief of Bank Indonesia Bali Office Dewi Setyowati said unfamiliar tourists who are on vacation in Bali should go to authorized or central income changers.

Based on a thread on TripAdvisor, many tourists are ripped off when getting their currencies changed. They’re advised to always ask for a receipt, count their money after the exchange, and to request for large notes.

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