The following is a detailed list of some of the most common psychic scams as well as the steps you can take to avoid them.

Psychic “Bait and Catch”

One of the most common psychic scams is to present an introductory offer such as a free initial reading or a reduced rate reading. This is supposed to give you a taste of what the psychic has to offer so that you can decide if you want to continue. Often times, this is a legitimate business practice that serves both the business provider and the consumer. In the case of psychic scams however, this bait and catch technique is only meant to lure you in so that you end up paying much more than you bargained for. The scammer achieves this by teasing you with just enough information so that you either want more or think you need more, at which point the psychic will hit you up for additional money. An example of this can be telling you that you might come into some good fortune, but that you will need more information from the psychic in order make sure it happens.  This pattern will continue with the psychic stringing you along with just enough information to get you to the next “buy in”.

Psychic Spells and Curses

Another typical psychic scam is to tell you that you have some type of curse or bad omen looming over you that needs to be removed.  Once the psychic has convinced you that you need help to avoid calamity, it becomes quite easy to separate you from your money in order to “give you” the necessary assistance. You may be asked for large sums of money in order to pay for candles, rituals and even spells. Sometimes the psychic will even tell you that one of your valuable possessions is cursed, such as an expensive jewelry item.  They will ask you to leave the item with them so that they can perform the necessary cleansing rituals needed to remove the curse. If you hand over that pearl necklace or pair of diamond earrings, you can be pretty sure it will be the last time you see it.

Cold Reading

This type of psychic scam involves a series of techniques that allow the scammer to ascertain relevant information about you without you knowing it. Information can be quickly gathered by analyzing your age, clothing, body language, gender, religion, sexual orientation, manner of speech, etc. This information is then presented back to you as if it were received through some psychic channel. If the psychic reading is being conducted over the phone, this method can be achieved by asking you a lot of suggestive and/or specific questions. For example, the psychic may say something like “I am getting information about you, but it is still a little unclear.  Can you help me uncover it by answering a few questions?” Cold readers often throw out high probability guesses, pay keen attention to your response to determine if the guesses are close, and then either continue or re-adjust the conversation.

Promises, Promises

I don’t care how good the psychic is, you should always be weary if you find that you are being promised anything.  Whether they are promising you money, love, power or whatever else, it is almost certain that this is a scam and the “psychic” is manipulating you, probably in order to get your money. It is perfectly reasonable for a psychic to let you know that it is their intention to help you make positive change in your life, but to promise it is dishonest and deceptive. Conversely, if psychic promises that something bad is going to happen if you don’t take a certain action, which likely involves giving them more money, there is an equally good chance you are being deceived.

How to Avoid Psychic Scams

The first step in learning how to avoid psychic scams is to know what to look for.  While I have detailed some of the most common psychic scams above, here are some specific steps you can take to avoid being scammed by a psychic.
  • Take the time to research your psychic beforehand.  Look for online reviews and feedback.   If possible, talk to someone who has had previous experience with the psychic.
  • Clarify the rate structure before your reading.  A good psychic should have a simple fee structure that is easy to understand.  A flat rate for a specific amount of time is ideal.
  • Read the payment terms and fine print, and only use “secure payment sites and services”.
  • Pay close attention if it appears that the psychic is preying on either your desires or fears.  If they began to promise you something or try to convince you that you need their help, get out fast!
  • Pay close attention if the psychic is asking you a lot of questions.  It is reasonable that the psychic ask you what you want to work on or which area you need help with, but if they start asking too many probing questions, this is probably a sign of cold reading.
Trust your intuition! This is the perhaps the most important piece.  Ultimately, you are your own guide and authority.   You may be seeking assistance, but you should never go against your own intuition.  If you feel that something is off with your psychic or that you are being manipulated or deceived, trust that and move on. This can be difficult, especially as many people who are seeking psychic assistance are going through some period of weakness, illness or need.  This unfortunately plays right into the hands of the psychic scammers.