While most money changers in Bali are honest, there's no denying that there are some scam artists out there ready to con unwitting tourists. But how exactly do they do it?
A Lithuanian illusionist named Rokas Bernatonis, who recently visited Bali, filmed a video in which he explains how one scammer tried to cheat him using his keen eye for sleight of hand.
In the video, Bernatonis says he had heard a lot about money exchange scammers in Bali so he decided to find them and expose them to protect other tourists.
He goes to one particularly shady-looking money exchange and tries to get 100 Euros changed into Indonesian rupiah. The exchanger gives Bernatonis the rupiah in two piles to count. After he counts the first pile, the exchanger takes it back so he can count the second one. It is then that Bernatonis catches him dropping a few bills from the first pile.
Bernatonis says the exchanger "got greedy" by dropping another IDR50,000 bill on the counter and very obviously sliding it off towards him.
Seeing what was going on, Bernatonis counts the money again and tells the exchanger that he needs more. He then catches the exchanger putting the dropped bills back into the pile in an attempt to cover his a**.
He ends the video by advising his fellow tourists to 1. Avoid shady-looking money exchange places like the one in the video, and 2. Don't let the exchanger take back the money to recount it, but keep it in your hands.
Bernatonis posted the video to his Instagram account on Feb 23 and it's racked up over 70,000 likes so far. He told Detik that he filmed it on Feb 19 in Canggu but didn't know the exact location of the money exchanger.
Ayu Astuti Dhama, the head of the Bali Foreign Exchange Traders Association (APVA), told Detik yesterday that the association was still investigating the truth of the video.
While money exchange scammers may have some smooth moves, they had little hope of fooling Bernatonis, a world-class card thrower and magician so accomplished he (along with Rick Smith Jr.) was able to fool iconic illusionists Penn & Teller.