Psychic Fraud — Warning Signs to Look Out For

Sam Headshot Contributing expert: Dr. Sam Youssef, Ph.D. - Updated: Feb 16, 2023


Whenever you’re exchanging money for goods or services, there’s a chance that you could fall prey to a scam or some kind of fraud. The psychic industry is no exception and unfortunately may hold even more opportunity for con artists to take advantage of people. When it comes to the subjective and experiential matters discussed within psychic readings, these topics can easily be manipulated and twisted in order to get more money from you. For example, a fraudulent psychic may threaten you with a curse in order to keep you coming back for more. We’ll discuss the typical red flags you’ll want to be aware of, how scams can be carried out, and the process of finding a psychic you can trust.

4 Warning Signs of Psychic Fraud

Psychic frauds tend to follow a certain set of techniques and emotional manipulation, including indirect mental health threats, that you need to be able to identify before damage can be done. These deceptive strategies can be stopped if you know the warning signs to look out for. Below we’ll go into detail about some common tactics used based on reports people have made about their negative psychic experiences. 

  • 1. Know exactly what you’re buying into

    When you choose a psychic to work with and select a service to purchase, be sure you know what your personal expectations from your requested reading are and what your goals will be after receiving this information. Also, if it’s not clear in the product description or terms of service, be sure to ask if there are any additional fees or extra costs involved with the package or service you’re purchasing.

    Additionally, make sure you feel comfortable with the way you’re paying for a reading. You should never give your credit card or bank account numbers to another person. Professional practitioners will have a legitimate and secure way for you to purchase from their website.

  • 2. Beware promises of wealth and good luck for a fee

    There was recently a large psychic fraud operation carried out in the U.S. from a few French residents that involved mailers promising things like lottery wins and large sums of money if you first sent them $45 through the mail. Over the following year, the hopeful victims never received their promised good fortunes and the alleged psychics raked in over $1,000,000. The saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” holds up in situations like these. Usually, professional certified psychic and clairvoyant practitioners won’t be promising anything but authenticity and transparency to any of their clients.

  • 3. Look out for threats of curses and misfortune

    The use of emotional abuse and threat of impending doom is another tactic used by psychic scammers to instill fear and gain control over their victims. People who use these strategies often create a sense of desperation in the people they’re scamming to trap them into buying more and more readings. When a fraud knows exactly what it is that you want to hear, they capitalize on that and use it against you. If they can then convince you that they hold the only solution to your problems and all you have to do is pay up for their help, something is not right.

    “Do not continue a reading if a reader begins to talk about a “curse” or negative energy that someone has placed on you. This is usually the first line in the playbook for psychid fraudsters,” recommends Dr. Sam Youssef.

  • 4. Follow your own intuition

    Someone who claims to be psychic, and even authentic psychics, shouldn’t hold power over your own sense of intuition. Everyone has their own gut feelings and sense of right and wrong. Now that you know some of the common deceptive tactics psychic frauds can use, you’ll be able to use that knowledge to fuel your intuition when you’re in an uncomfortable situation. If something feels off to you, don’t be afraid to stop and assess the facts. Discuss any concerns you may have with a trusted friend in order to gain some outside perspective. Ultimately, take what any psychic or clairvoyant says with a grain of salt.

What to Do If You’re a Victim of Psychic Fraud

When you’re victimized by someone who is using you for monetary gain, you can end up feeling violated and maybe even embarrassed. Oftentimes someone may not even report that they’ve been scammed because law enforcement tends to dismiss these cases. As with any fraudulent activity, you should immediately report your experience to your financial institutions and local authorities.

One thing you can do is get loud about your experience online. Write about how you were victimized through a review or rating on the fraudulent psychic’s website. Take to a site like Trustpilot where you can vent your opinions on neutral ground without being silenced. Also, take time to check in on your mental health. Being the victim of possible emotional manipulation, blackmail, or threat of harm can take a toll that may need professional attention. Make sure to reach out for help if you’re experiencing things like anxiety or depression.

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The Cost of Psychic Fraud

If you’re working with someone on an individual level through their own private website, you’ll likely choose from a number of packages to book your reading. These packages are usually provided at a flat rate ranging from $60 to over $300 depending on the service and time scheduled. On the other hand, if you found a provider on an online psychic directory, you’ll likely be charged on a per-minute basis as shown in the table below. The length of the call depends on how long the psychic talks and how long you stay on the line.

Psychic Reading Costs
Website Introductory Offers Lowest Price Highest Price
Oranum 10,000 bonus coin credits $3.50 per minute $11 per minute
PathForward Welcome offer is less than $1 per minute $1 per minute $5 per minute
Keen First 10 minutes for $1.99 $1.99 per minute $9.99 per minute

With the way these services are set up, it could be easy for someone who is conducting psychic scams to talk on and on to rack up the minutes in the reading and collect as much money as they can. There have also been instances of people purchasing flat-rate packages online but failing to receive services because the psychic never connects to the call. 

Finding a Psychic You Can Trust

Finding an authentic, professional psychic practitioner you can trust and feel comfortable with can take some time. It may mean having several experiences with other psychics to know what you do and don’t value during a reading. There are a few reputable psychic websites out there that have screening processes and tests they put providers through to deter fraudulent psychics. Reviews and ratings are another way to gauge if a certain psychic could be the right fit for you. 

Finding a local psychic is another option for people who want an in-person experience. Word of mouth among locals and social media pages are a great way to get unfiltered opinions. While the convenience and comfort of doing a virtual psychic reading is a great option for some, there are those who prefer scheduling a time slot to meet with someone face to face. Figuring out which way you would rather interact with your practitioner will help you know where to start looking.

Keep in mind that virtual settings can be a prime environment for people attempting to set up clairvoyant scams. But now that you’re equipped with the warning signs and facts we’ve provided above, you can avoid these dangerous situations. The same rules apply to in-person readings. You can still get scammed by someone sitting right across from you through intimidation and coercion. Establish your boundaries, protect yourself, and don’t be afraid to follow your own intuition.

“In order to provide you with an accurate reading, a professional psychic reader will focus on your requirements rather than their own personal views,” reminds Dr. Sam Youssef.