Top 20 Scams and Rip-Offs in Las Vegas

Las Vegas, often called Sin City, is known for its world-renowned entertainment, luxurious resorts, and lively nightlife. Here we will dive into the top 20 scams in Las Vegas. Whether it’s fake tickets, rigged games, or identity theft, understanding these scams can help you protect yourself and enjoy all Las Vegas offers without falling victim to fraudulent schemes.

Common Scams and Rip-Offs in Las Vegas

In March 2023, 4.9 million tourist visits were recorded in Vegas, bringing the trailing 12-month total to an all-time high of 55.4 million visitors. [1]

The high volume of tourists and their discretionary income make Las Vegas a prime target for hustlers looking to make a quick buck. With millions of visitors flocking to the city each year, scammers see ample opportunities to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists.

You need to stay informed and aware of common scams to protect yourself and your wallets while enjoying your trip to LA.

Common Scams and Rip-Offs in Las Vegas

Gambling and Casino Scams


Card Switching Scam:

In card games such as blackjack or poker, be aware of potential scams, as scammers may attempt to manipulate the outcome in their favor. These fraudulent tactics often involve sleight of hand and distraction techniques to switch cards, leading to an unfair advantage. 


Stay vigilant during card games, ensure the dealer is reputable, and report any suspicious behavior to casino staff.


Chip Theft:

Opportunistic thieves may attempt to snatch casino chips from unsuspecting players. This can occur when players leave their chips unattended or become distracted.


Keep a close eye on your chips, use chip trays provided by the casino, and avoid leaving chips unattended.

Chip Theft

False Slot Tickets:

Scammers may create fake slot tickets or manipulate existing ones to claim payouts. They insert these fake tickets into machines, attempting to cash out ill-gotten winnings.


Only use official slot tickets provided by the casino. If you encounter any issues, notify casino staff immediately.


Rigged Slot Machines:

Some scammers attempt to manipulate or tamper with slot machines to influence the outcomes in their favor. This can involve inserting devices or using insider knowledge.


Stick to reputable casinos, report any suspicious behavior, and choose well-maintained slot machines.

Rigged Slot Machines

Marked Cards in Poker Rooms:

Scammers may mark cards with subtle, hard-to-detect marks in poker rooms to gain an advantage over other players. This can lead to unfair winnings.


Be cautious when joining poker games, play in reputable establishments, and report any suspicions to casino staff.


Street Performer Scams:

Las Vegas streets are adorned with an eclectic array of street performers. While many of these characters are there to entertain and gladly accept tips, some take a more aggressive approach, demanding payment for photos. To navigate this:

Cautionary Approach:

While it’s tempting to engage with street performers, exercise caution. If you decide to capture a moment with them, inquire about any expectations regarding payment before snapping that photo.

Street Performer Scams

Taxi Overcharging:

Taxis are a common mode of transportation in Las Vegas, especially for exploring the iconic Strip. However, some drivers may exploit unsuspecting tourists by taking longer routes or manipulating meters to inflate fares. Protect yourself by:

Choosing Reputable Services:

Opt for well-known taxi companies recognized and approved by the city.

Meter Vigilance:

Keep a watchful eye on the taxi meter, ensuring it starts when the journey begins. Familiarize yourself with approximate fare ranges to identify potential overcharging.


Fake Tickets:

The appeal of last-minute fun can sometimes lure tourists into ticket scams. Deceptive sellers may offer fake or expensive show tickets, leading to disappointment and financial loss. To protect your entertainment experience, it’s important to be cautious and take steps such as

Authorized Sellers:

Always purchase tickets from official sources, such as the venue box office or reputable online platforms.

Ticket Authentication:

Verify the authenticity of your tickets by checking for official markings, holograms, and other security features.

Fake Tickets:

Timeshare Presentations:

 The offer of complimentary shows or meals in return for attending a timeshare presentation might sound tempting, but such offers often use aggressive and high-pressure tactics to convince attendees.

Familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions, do thorough research about the company making the offer, and remember that there’s rarely such a thing as a “free” offer without some kind of catch. Stay vigilant with these tactics:

Polite Declination:

Politely decline any offers that involve timeshare presentations, as they often lead to aggressive sales tactics.

Prior Research:

Familiarize yourself with common timeshare scams to recognize and sidestep potential pitfalls.


Sidewalk Card Game Scams:

Sidewalk card games, often found in tourist areas, may appear to be innocent pastimes, but in reality, they are frequently rigged to benefit the scammer. These games typically involve sleight of hand, misdirection, and other deceptive techniques to manipulate the outcome in favor of the hustler.

Some common examples you might encounter include “three-card monte” and “shell games,” where the scammer moves cards or objects around quickly, making it extremely difficult for the participant to keep track and win. To safeguard your wallet, you must be aware of these games and avoid getting involved, as the odds of winning are highly stacked against you. 

Avoidance is Key:

Steer clear of card games on the street, as they are designed to separate you from your money unfairly.

Opt for Legitimate Casinos:

If card games pique your interest, choose the regulated and reputable casino establishments for a fair and secure gaming experience.


Fake Club Promoters:

Some common scams in the nightlife scene in Las Vegas include fake VIP passes promising entry to exclusive clubs, counterfeit event tickets, and overpriced party packages that fail to deliver the promised experiences.

Verification is Key:

Before committing to any club offers, verify the legitimacy of promoters. Authentic promoters won’t pressure you into paying exorbitant cover charges or buying fake VIP passes.

Fake Club Promoters

Hotel Room Phone Scams:

Be cautious of potential scams via phone calls in the comfort of your hotel room. Scammers might pose as hotel staff, offering fake promotions, claiming issues with your reservation, or requesting personal or financial information. You might also receive unsolicited calls promoting investment opportunities, sweepstakes, or timeshares.


If someone calls claiming to be from the front desk and requests credit card information, verify with the hotel’s official number. Legitimate hotels won’t ask for sensitive information over the phone.


Fake Parking Attendants: 

When navigating parking lots or garages, be vigilant against potential scams, such as encountering fake parking attendants. Scammers may impersonate parking attendants to collect money and provide falsified parking passes. If approached by an individual claiming to be a parking attendant, take note of their official uniform or badge and, when in doubt, confirm their identity with the parking management or security personnel.

Also, be cautious of individuals offering to “watch” or “guard” your vehicle in exchange for a fee. While some parking areas may have attendants, confirm their legitimacy and the services they provide before engaging with them.

Stick to Marked Attendants:

Only pay parking fees to attendants in marked lots or garages associated with your destination. Avoid handing money to unauthorized individuals to steer clear of scams.

Fake Parking Attendants

Street Merchandise Scams: 

When approached by individuals offering what seem to be valuable items or services for a price, exercise caution and approach such offers with skepticism. Scammers might try to sell counterfeit merchandise, fake tickets, or overpriced or low-quality goods. Some may also use deceptive tactics, such as offering free items and demanding payment.

Cautious Approach:

Be wary of individuals on the street offering seemingly valuable items or services for a price. Exercise caution; if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.


Currency Exchange: 

Regarding currency exchange during international travel, remain mindful of potential scams. Scammers may operate currency exchange schemes that involve deceptive rates, hidden fees, or counterfeit money. Use reputable and authorized currency exchange vendors, such as banks or established exchange offices, to safeguard yourself.

Avoid unlicensed street vendors or unverified online platforms, as these increase the risk of falling victim to fraudulent practices. Always verify the current exchange rate and inquire about additional fees before conducting currency transactions.

Use Reputable Services:

Opt for well-known currency exchange services to avoid receiving counterfeit money or unfavorable exchange rates. Verify rates beforehand to ensure a fair transaction.


ATM Skimming: 

Card skimming, a common method fraudsters employ, involves using illicit devices installed on ATMs to surreptitiously gather card information. These devices are designed to discretely capture the data from the magnetic stripe on your card, including the card number and security code, which can then be used for unauthorized transactions or to create counterfeit cards.


Use ATMs in well-lit, secure locations and check for any unusual attachments or loose parts on the machine. 

ATM Skimming

CNF Fees: 

A new and alarming trend involves the CNF fee, short for “Concession and Franchise Fee,” appearing on some Las Vegas restaurant menus. This fee, ranging from 4% to 5%, is added to the final bill without clear justification.


Scrutinize your restaurant bill for additional fees, question the CNF fee, and seek clarification from the staff.



Pickpocketing is a concern in crowded areas, especially in bustling tourist destinations like Las Vegas. Thieves often target crowded spaces such as casinos, shows, and attractions, taking advantage of the distractions and the close proximity of individuals to quickly and discreetly steal belongings.


Keep your belongings secure, be mindful of your surroundings, and avoid displaying valuables openly.


Hotel Room Mini-Bar Charges: 

The hotel mini-bar can turn into a potential ripoff. Opening the mini-bar without careful consideration may lead to unexpected charges. Many hotels, including those in Las Vegas, employ monitoring devices in mini-bars; any movement of items may reflect on your room charge.

Exercise Caution:

Unless you’re willing to pay the high prices for mini-bar items, it’s advisable not to open it.

Beware of Monitoring:

Some mini-bars have sensors that register any movement, impacting your room bill.

Stay Informed:

Familiarize yourself with the hotel’s mini-bar policy to avoid unwelcome surprises on your bill.


Fake Charities: 

When approached by individuals seeking donations for charitable causes, be wary of potential scams. Some individuals may pose as charity representatives, requesting contributions for fictitious or unauthorized causes.


Donate to recognized charities directly and ask for official identification and details about the charity before donating.

Las Vegas is a city of fun, but it’s good to be smart too. We have covered the top 20 scams to help you avoid trouble and enjoy your time here.

Remember, some people might try to trick you, so it’s essential to be careful. Whether it’s street performers, unexpected fees, or fake tickets, staying alert is your best defense. Keep an eye on your money, double-check your bills, and use trusted services.

As you explore the city, soak in the shows, and have a blast on the Strip, keep these tips in mind. Vegas is full of excitement, and with a bit of caution, you can make the most of your trip without any surprises.  

If you find yourself injured during your stay in Las Vegas, contact Goldberg & Loren’s casino and hotel injury lawyers for representation. 


[1] Strong Growth For Tourism. (n.d.). City of Las Vegas.

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