There are lots of different tourist scams in Las Vegas. Many of the scams might be obvious but some of them are pretty clever. Nothing is free in Las Vegas and if it sounds too good to be true it’s probably a scam.
A few years back we were walking into the Planet Hollywood Mall. We were asked if we wanted a coupon book. I know that the mall offers shopping booklets with coupons so I said sure. The man wasn’t with the mall and immediately began harassing us to go to a time share presentation. A scam.
Tourist scams are everywhere in Las Vegas and here are a few of the more common scams.
Tourist Scams in Las Vegas
Update Sept 5th, 2023
We just got back from Vegas and have heard a few stories of people approaching you asking you to take out your phone to get directions or an address for a place they are to meet a friend or to borrow it to make an emergency call. Do Not take your phone out and just walk away. They are trying to install apps or use your apps to steal money.
- Card Slappers – The Card Slappers are all over the Las Vegas Strip. They will hand you a card advertising an escort or call girl. Contrary to what many people think, prostitution is illegal in Vegas. Most times the escort is not going to provide you with a service. They are there to rob you. They may slip you something in a drink or excuse themselves to freshen up while they steal your items.
- Free Dinner Scam – The scam involves a good looking person chatting you up and gaining your confidence. They will tell you about how they scored a big win at the tables and want to take you out for dinner. They will do the old dine and dash and leave your holding the bill for dinner.
- Time Share Presentation – These people are all over the Las Vegas Strip. They will offer you free tickets to a show or dinner if you listen to their presentation. You will get some crappy seats to a show. You will have wasted your day and they will do everything to keep you there and get you to sign up. It’s not worth wasting an entire day in Las Vegas to get a pair of nosebleed seats.
- Casino ATM’s – So not a scam in the general sense but beware of the fees. Some of the bank machine fees in Casinos are 3x a normal ATM. Try and get your money elsewhere.
- Water Vendors – This should be a no brainer. Do not buy water from a person off the strip. I have seen them. The coolers are filthy and people report they have filled them up with tap water.
- Don’t Gamble on the Street – I have never seen them but apparently Three Card Monty and other games take place in Vegas. These are obviously not fair games. You have no chance of winning them.
- Distraction – Stay focused in the Casino. The scammers will work in pairs. One will distract you by dropping something or bumping into you. The other will steal your purse, bag or even try to get your tito slip.
- The Long Haul – Taxi cab drivers are notorious for trying to long haul you from the airport. Read more on our post Long Haul Taxi Scam.
- Pick Pockets – There are professional pick pockets everywhere in Las Vegas. They will work in teams. One will distract you while the other loots you. They look for people flashing money, cell phones or other valuables. They also look for somebody that appears or is drunk. Keep you wallet and purses closed and close to you and do not flash your valuables out in the open.
- CD Scam – These guys usually hang out on the bridges along the strip or around the escalators. They will ask you if you want a free CD of their terrible music. They will ask you your name and sign the CD Case and then be very aggressive in trying to get you to buy it because they ruined it by putting your name on it. Just keep walking and ignore them.
- Mentor Scam – These scammers will approach you in a casino and bar and tell you a tale of how they reached some kind of financial goal or got rich and then promise to teach you as a mentor for a fee. It’s a scam obviously.
- Fake Marijuana Stores – Marijuana stores are not allowed on The Strip or on Fremont St. The stores that have popped up are CBD stores and they are not selling THC. They package their material and even will tell you that they are selling THC. It’s a scam. Use Google and find a real Dispensary. I have personally use Planet 18 and The Reef, both highly recommended.
How to Deal with Scammers in Las Vegas
The easiest way to deal with the scammers is to simply ignore them. When they try to hand you a card, a cd or booklet just keep walking. They won’t waste their time on you.
If you engage them then they will focus on you and begin their targeted harassing grift. If you acknowledge them they will press you. So don’t do it.
If a scammer begins to engage with you tell them you are on your way to the airport and walk away. They have heard this a million times and will usually go away.
I have personally yelled at them with a loud voice to leave me alone. They don’t want to create a scene, especially with Vegas police so they will go away.
If you feel threatened just walk into the nearest store, casino or business. They won’t follow you in there. If so grab a security guard, they are everywhere in Vegas.