Tourist Scams in Las Vegas

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

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.

Birthday Deals and Freebies in Las Vegas

I am spending my birthday in Vegas and I am wondering if there are any deals of freebies?  This is a common question for Vegas travelers. We have a list of current birthday deals and freebies in Las Vegas. Many of them entail you signing up for membership cards, an email list or online newsletter. If you follow our guide you should be able to get yourself a few specials and birthday freebies.

Updated June 2023

Shameless Self Promotion

There is not shame in self promotion. Tell everyone it’s your birthday and see if they offer any special deals or freebies available. Let people know you are in Vegas to celebrate your special day.

  • When making your hotel reservation make sure they put a birthday note on your reservation and mention it upon check in. They may give you an upgrade when making the reservation or when checking in. For example, we were given a room on the 53rd floor with a strip view at the Aria.
  • Mention it to your bartender, waitress or hostess. You may just get a free drink, entree or dinner.

Birthday specials and freebies in Las Vegas

Sign Up For Players Club Cards

Sign up for players club cards and their email lists. They will email you promotions for your birthday. It may something as small as a free drink or it could be freeplay credit. Last year I was given $10 free play plus a bonus of $30 for any stay during my birthday month. If you don’t get a special via email I would still go to the players club ask if there are any promotions or freebies.

Sign Up For Email List or Fan Clubs for Restaurants

Many restaurants will give you a 2-1 coupon or freebie on your birthday simply for signing up for their email list or fan club. If they ask you for your date of birth when signing up you will more than likely get a freebie.

  • Hash House a Go Go offers a 2-1 Dinner Free Dessert Coupon for joining their Facebook Club. Coupon has an expiration date.
  • Holsteins sent me a free alcohol shake for joining their Club (halfway down the page).
  • Grimaldi’s Pizzeria offers a free pizza on your birthday. I just signed up so I cannot confirm what they offer as of yet. They also offer a $5 off coupon but it expires within a month of signing up.
  • Hexx sent a coupon for a 1/2 price signature drink or free appetizer with entree purchase.
  • Lettuce Entertain You puts $15 in your account every year for your birthday that does not expire and is good at several Las Vegas restaurants.
  • Margaritaville sends you a birthday coupon when you sign up for their “Fins Up” club. The coupon is $10 off $30
  • Bin702 located in the Container Park will offer a free drink during the week of your birthday. Go to website and a box should open allowing you to sign up for club with your birthday information.
  • BOGO free entrée at Magnolias restaurant at Four Queens in the month of your birth.
  • BOGO free entrée at Binions Cafe in the month of your birth.
  •  50% off a zodiac cocktail at Venetian/Palazzo
  • Free Shot at Nacho Daddy’s.
  • Cheesecake Factory free dessert on you birthday.
  • Yard House free mini dessert on your birthday,

These are just a few examples of freebies you can get in Vegas from joining restaurant clubs or email lists. If you plan on going to a restaurant check their website for a list and join it. If not mention to your server that it is your birthday and see if they give you something.

Vegas Specific Birthday Freebies

These are the Vegas specific freebies that have been reported on various websites, chat boards and forums. I can’t speak for the validity of them so please report any that are not active.

  • The Eiffel Tower at Paris is free on the day of your birthday.
  • Excalibur offers $20 Free Play through the week before and after your birthday.
  • Luxor offers a free spin $5 – $100 within a week of your birthday. Reports of offering $10 loaded onto players card so no more spin.
  • Park MGM offers $25 Free Play.
  • Ellis Island offers $10 Free Play on the day of birthday.
  • Sahara offers Free Play and possible other food discounts during birthday month. Also $10 FP for new sign ups.
  • Four Queens gives a two-for-one dinner voucher for Magnolia’s during your birthday month.
  • Orleans earn 1 point and swipe for prizes at kiosk booth.
  • Wynn: $10 Free Play within 48 hours of b-day (not sure if still active).
  • The Plaza has a number of bday offers including discount rooms.
  • Both Wynn and MGM are sending emails for FreePlay during birthday month but it might be tied to Tier Status