Protect Yourself from Psychic Scams: An Insider's Guide

crystalballThe world is full of all kinds of people. If we just examine the family and friends we are close to, we’ll see a wide range of values and behaviors and different levels of integrity. While it’s unfortunate, every profession has its bad seeds. When it’s a directly spiritual type of work, however, we’re especially outraged by unethical practices or unprofessional behavior. For example, child molestation will evoke outrage no matter who the perpetrator is, but we feel dismayed and betrayed when a priest is the abuser. This sort of occurrence garners a lot of attention from the media, and makes parents leery of trusting church leaders with their children.

A similar dynamic has occurred in the psychic/spiritual reading arena. While “gypsies” have always been suspect, the proliferation of cheesy 900 number services and infomercials evokes a bad taste in the public’s mouth when it hears the world “tarot cards” or “psychic readings.” We need to remember that not every psychic is a con artist any more than every priest is a pedophile. A few highly visible bad seeds can prejudice us against what on the whole is a group of very well-meaning and high-intentioned professionals.

This article and its companion (How to Get a Good Psychic Reading) are designed to educate readers about common scams and provide some practical insider’s tips on what to look for when choosing a spiritual counselor or psychic.


Over the years I’ve received some truly disturbing letters both at Muse-Net and Kajama from people who were panicked or confused because some “psychic” had told them they were cursed or possessed by an evil spirit. Oftentimes these people had spent hundreds of dollars to have these negative influences removed, but the reader kept them coming back for this or that and insisting on more and more money. I’ve corresponded with people who have literally spent thousands of dollars trying to have “curses” removed. One man had his whole family chipping in to remove a “family curse.” Needless to say, I removed the “curses” for free, and advised them to choose their readers more wisely in the future!

For example, the following is an actual letter from a reader of the journal. The subject line was, “Looking for your opinion.”

      Dear Kajama:
      Hi! I have been reading your articles for many months now. I have had two readings and continue to be very satisfied with the level of professionalism and talent I have experienced as well as the articles in your journal. I have embarked upon my own path of spiritual growth, and have found your publication to be a great source of enlightenment, education, and encouragement. I would like to share two recent experiences I had with psychics that were not very positive, and I would very much value your opinion.
      I went to see two local psychics (I live in the LA area) on two separate occasions, because I liked what I had experienced at Kajama and thought it would be useful to see someone in person. During each visit, the psychic commented that I had a “dark cloud/aura” around me, and that my “bad luck” with relationships had to do with an “evil spirit” following me. I was told that unless I worked with them to “find the cause” of this, I would never be happy in a relationship!! Then each reader proceeded to ask for what I consider to be a LOT of money. The first one wanted $700, and the second wanted $300! This was to be for a couple of “meditation” sessions with me where they would be able to essentially rid me of this “dark cloud” or “evil spirit.” (!!)
      I felt very turned off by this. It felt like they were manipulating me through my own fear and sadness about my recently ended relationship. Frankly, I felt like they were trying to scam me. Not only that, what was communicated felt very negative, fatalistic, and dis-empowering. It was nothing like what I had learned or experienced with you guys!
      I am becoming very aware of the personal issues I need to work on to improve my relationships, and believe that things happen for very good reasons and are always learning opportunities and for my greatest good. If a particular relationship is not meant to be, then I will learn and grow and something better will appear. This was certainly not the attitude conveyed by either of these readers. I felt as if I was bad and that somehow it was my fault that I had “lost” this man. They told me this kind of unhappiness would continue if I didn’t do what they said. Their attitude was one of warning me.
      Needless to say, if I wasn't as strong and independent as I am, I may have given them this money out of sheer desperation. I feel sorry for others who might go along with this. Both of these psychics are very established in the community and have been practicing for many years. One even had a write-up in the newspaper.
      I would appreciate your professional opinion on these experiences. Thank you very much!

While most con artists are only interested in your money, there are other matters to consider as well. Several years ago I received a letter from an attractive young woman who had been to a male reader. He told her that he was totally amazed to be meeting her, because he had just met her soul mate a few weeks before. He said he felt that he was to be the instrument of Spirit that would bring them together. Now, this might have been true, especially if he had just handed her the guy’s number, but next he explained that in order to bring them into energetic harmony, he had to perform a special ritual. It involved her getting naked and him rubbing special oil into her feet and legs. He assured her it was all on the level, and he even offered to do this at no additional charge.

She wanted to know if I thought she should do it. It was her “soul mate” at stake, after all. Though I think most of us would immediately smell a rat here, this woman was not a fool by any means! If a reader holds out the possibility of something as wonderful as a “soul mate,” even the most cynical, practical and grounded people may be tempted to go against their intuition.

Following are some red flags to watch out for. This is based on my experiences working in this arena, and on the letters and other communications I’ve had from people over the years.

First, avoid “spells” and “curses.” This is in no way a criticism of the noble spiritual practice of Wicca. True Wiccans know better than most that we can not tamper with another’s free will. If someone offers to put a love spell on someone you’re enamored with, or to remove a curse for a fee, move on. You are the one with the power to create what you want in your life. Don’t expect a psychic reader to do anything more than show you where you’re presently heading and the way to go to create what you desire. What you do with that information is entirely up to you. A good reader will EMPOWER you to take your life and destiny under your own conscious control.

This “curse” matter deserves a few more words. Often clients only discover that they’re “cursed” when the reader tells them. People who seek out psychics generally have a problem or issue they’re trying to turn around in their lives. Blaming “bad luck” or unwanted experiences on a curse is convenient for the reader. Such negative energies are notorious for clinging to “bad money.” If you hand it over to the reader, he or she will bravely dispose of it for you.

Another thing that personally raises my own eyebrow is readers who have New Agey names like Dollfyn or Lightseeker. I’m far more likely to take readers seriously and give them my trust when they they use their own real (full) name. I’ve never understood why anyone who believes in what they do and is on the level would choose to hide behind a moniker. On the other hand, I know some sincere and gifted readers who do have “reader names,” so the call is yours.

Next, ask yourself if this psychic reader seems to be love or fear based. Anyone who tries to scare you is going to dis-empower you and leave you worse off than you were without the reading. While it doesn’t necessarily mean the reader is a scam artist, focusing on how bad things may happen if you don’t do what he or she says is not an enlightened or constructive approach. A good reader will put your best interests above his or her pocket book. While a client who can’t make a move without consulting you is great for business, it’s not a healthy or positive dynamic to establish. Watch out for readers who ask you to come back at a certain time or within a certain interval. As the client, you’re the one who decides when to come back. A very ethical reader will limit the amount of readings he or she will do for you, or how often he or she will see you, in order to discourage dependency.

In general, once you’ve cleared a reader of the above, ask your intuition! Your intuition must work in harmony with your intellect; we have both for good reason. If you feel drawn to a certain reader, then by all means, pursue that desire. Our inner beings lead us to what is best for us through our desires. Spirit is always working for us, and we are led to those who have dedicated their lives to doing the work of Spirit in the world when we can’t clearly hear the guidance coming through for ourselves. I encourage you to read How to Get a Good Psychic Reading, which leaves behind issues or elements to avoid, and is more positively focused!