Imagine you are a casino cage employee at a prominent Las Vegas casino. You get an urgent call from someone claiming to be a casino executive. They say there is an emergency, and they need you to remove cash from the cage and take it to an off-site location.
What do you do?
Call the NGCB immediately, according to a recent Nevada Gaming Control Board‘s (NGCB) memo warning the state’s casinos of an emerging scam that swindled $1.17 million in a single incident.
“The cage scam is sophisticated and has been surprisingly effective in defrauding casinos,” the NGCB wrote in its memo.
Nevada casino scammers pose as fake executives
The NGCB’s memo detailed how the scam works. A person posing as a casino executive calls a property’s cage and speaks with a cashier, for example. They spin up a story about needing cash ASAP to make an important off-property payment.
During the call, the scammers pose as a manager and send a text to the employee confirming the legitimacy of the ask. The employee takes the cash to the off-site location and the money is never seen again.
While it may seem crazy that a casino employee would fall for a ruse like this, the NGCB noted that the scammers employ a variety of techniques to make the scenario believable.
The NGCB wrote:
“Subjects gain intelligence on high-level casino owners, employees, managers, and others connected to the casino’s money operations. The fraudsters then contact cage employees using a variety of scenarios to manipulate personnel based on a fear of negative consequences for casino employees and/or operations.”
And should an employee waiver during the ruse, the scammers posing as executives offer a bonus for the inconvenience.
Casinos should review security measures
The masterminds of these scams are nimble, so the NGCB warned casinos to review and update their security protocol.
“This particular scam continues to evolve, and investigators have noted a shift in tactics to target gaming pits and other areas of the casino,” the NGCB wrote. “Therefore, education on the trending fraud is recommended for all cage cashiers, supervisors, managers, surveillance, security, and gaming pit personnel.”
Same scam has been successful in multiple states
This type of scam has popped up at casinos in multiple states. For example, earlier this year news broke that a cashier at Colorado’s Monarch Casino was under investigation for stealing more than $500,000.
It turns out the employee received text messages from someone claiming to be a casino executive. The executive said the casino was having a shipping issue, and that the employee needed to take more than $500,000 to a nearby hospital.
It’s not just casinos getting hit with this scam, either. An employee at a gas station near Disney Springs in Orlando fell for the ruse in October. A company manager called the gas station, saying a shipping matter and an upcoming fire inspection required a cash payment.
The scammer asked the employee to withdraw money from the gas station’s safe and deposit it in a Bitcoin ATM. The employee fell for the deception, sending more than $2,000 to an anonymous account.