An Australian woman is warning other travellers after she fell for a Bali visa scam.
The woman said she was left feeling like a “prized idiot” after she paid an $80 fee for an electronic visa on arrival (e-VOA) only to discover she had used a fake website.
“I see the comic irony that I’ve been ripped off before I even leave Australia,” she posted to a Facebook group dedicated to Bali travel.
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The woman said she had provided her passport and Mastercard details to the website and paid the fee before her friend alerted her the website was fake.
“Problem is, I need to use my bank card in Bali,” she said.
The woman asked other travellers if anyone else had made the same mistake and if she should cancel her bank card.
“Contact your bank,” one person suggested.
“I’d be cancelling your card, the fact they have your passport info means they can potentially access your account.”
“See if you can put a temporary lock on your card,” another added.
Other travellers shared their frustration with the rise in these types of scams.
“So many people are having this issue,” one person said.
“Easy mistake to make… be extra careful,” another added.
“I hope this is sorted out for you quickly and you can put it behind you and start to enjoy your upcoming holiday,” a third said.
Meanwhile, authorities warn there are many websites that imitate the Indonesian government’s official website, where travellers can prepay their electronic visa on arrival (e-VOA).
Some travellers said they were charged much higher fees because they had unknowingly used an agency, which then assisted them to purchase the visa through the official site.
But others warned they had purchased visas that were not valid, leaving them no choice but to buy an official visa at the airport.
A visa on arrival can also be bought for about $50 when travellers land in Bali.
The Indonesian government has also started to take note of the scam websites, warning travellers to only use its official website to organise visas.
“Beware of visa scamming and illicit websites that offer to provide electronic visa on arrival (e-VOA) to Indonesia” the government posted online.
The Australian government service Smartraveller has advice for obtaining an Indonesian visa.
“You can apply for an e-visa on arrival (e-VOA) no later than 48 hours prior to travelling to Indonesia, check the e-VOA requirements from Indonesian Immigration before applying,” it said.
“The e-VOA and VOA cost IDR 500,000 (approximately $A50), with the e-VOA charging a small online processing fee.”
Smartraveller also warns travellers about the consequences of falling victim to a visa scam.
“Avoid visa scams by applying for visas using links or organisations recommended by the embassy or consulate of the country you’re visiting (and) reading the travel advice for information on entry and exit requirements before you travel,” the website says.
“If you travel on a fake visa, you may be arrested, jailed, or deported on arrival.”
You can learn more about visa scams by visiting the Department of Home Affairs.
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