If you’re planning a trip to Bali or elsewhere in Indonesia and need a visa, be sure to only use the government’s official site.
Travel scams are certainly nothing new, but usually the crooks target tourists after they’ve arrived at their destination. Now, scammers are swindling travellers out of their cash before they even board a plane.
Though this is good advice for those visiting anywhere in Indonesia, authorities are in particular cautioning the tens of thousands of visitors who travel to Bali each month to beware of fake eVisa websites – with Australians being a top target. These websites mimic the Indonesian government’s official website, which permits travelers to prepay their electronic visa on arrival (e-VOA).
Some travelers have reported being charged significantly higher fees after inadvertently using an agency that assisted them in purchasing the visa through the official site. Other travelers have reported purchasing invalid visas, leaving them no choice but to purchase an official visa at the airport, which costs IDR500,000 (about US$34).
Social media has been flooded with reports of the scams, with many describing how they lost money to these fake websites. Some travellers expressed regret for not being more cautious, while others were tricked by the websites’ misleading appearance. One traveller noted that a fraudulent website is a top search result on Google when searching for an Indonesian visa.
“I haven’t slept all night as a family member sent us the (wrong) link, and we processed several applications and hence lost a lot of $,” one person posted on Reddit.
“I wished I saw this post before I clicked the website… they charged A$133.34 from my debit card. I feel ashamed. I should have known better,” another added.
Another traveller said one of the fake websites is a top result on Google when you search for an Indonesian visa. “The website is so misleading,” they said. “I know better, but unfortunately, my elderly family members did not.”
The Indonesian government has also taken notice of the scam websites and has warned prospective visitors to only use its official website to organize visas. The Indonesian government has posted a notice online urging travelers to beware of visa scamming and illicit websites and has provided the official website for e-VOA, which is https://molina.imigrasi.go.id/.
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