8 Ways to Spot a Psychic Fraud

One thing that blows me up like a Supernova–and makes honest readers across the universe cringe–is the scam artist, the bullshit Tarot Reader (or psychic, or astrologer, or whatever). Because so much of what we do isn’t easy to quantify, because people seek readings in times of stress or uncertainty, the fields draw plenty of neer-do-wells looking to cash in on somebody else’s pain. That is some ugly karma, right there.

So to everyone who consults readers, psychics and other spiritual advisers, please know the signs of being taken for a ride so you can hop off!

Do not trust a reader who…

  • Promises  100%, TOTAL ACCURACY/ PERFECT TIMELINES!!! Readers are HUMAN beings, period. Nobody is perfect. You and everyone else you know has FREE WILL. The future is always in motion and we each have options about how we live it. That’s the point of consulting spirit, you know?
  • Tells you how glow-in-the-dark-HOLY-SPECIAL-GIFTED YOU ARE!!! Flattery gives  a buzz, and I’m sure you’re totally awesome and super-spiritual, really! Your aura may shine into the next state for all I know. But too much is too much. It’s sort of like the smarmy guy in the bar. You know he says, “You have the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen!” to all the chicks, but you kind of want to believe he really means it this time…He doesn’t.
  • Tells you what a WONDERFUL/INSTANT/FATED CONNECTION they feel with you!!! This is a variation of the glow-in-the-dark-holy-special ruse.
  • Has “VERY IMPORTANT/TIME-SENSITIVE NEWS” just for YOU!!! Doesn’t matter about what. Whether it’s lotto numbers or impending doom dangled as bait, the objective is getting the hook into you!
  • Diagnoses a CURSE, BAD KARMA/A DEMON/MALEFIC ENTITIES/HOLES IN YOUR AURA/BLOCKED CHAKRAS/GENERIC METAPHYSICAL ILL…that the reader happens to specialize in clearing!!! (For a hefty fee.) Just to be clear: I actually BELIEVE in magic, spirits, charkas, the whole shebang. And people can, indeed, have problems as a result of energetic imbalances. But if you’ve purchased a reading, you’ve ALREADY paid for assistance. This reader isn’t a professional selling spiritual services; this is a con artist selling fear. Run!
  • Aggressively PURSUES YOU FOR MORE READINGS!!! I’m not talking about signing up to an email list to get notice of reading specials. I’m talking about getting hounded with requests for setting up appointments. Ethical readers look to empower YOU to direct your own life more succesfully. Con artists look to foster dependency.
  • Tells you to KEEP YOUR READING SECRET!!! Your reading belongs to YOU. Whom and what you share from your reading is your business. If you’re being told not to share, there is a reason and the reason isn’t going to be about protecting your interests.
  • Says they are the ONLY ONE WHO CAN HELP!!! Spiritual gifts are by grace. We ALL have psychic and intuitive potential. Good readers develop skills through study and hard work, and deserve to earn from their services if they choose. But by no means does ANY reader possess something no one else can access. Anyone who claims otherwise is either very confused or very dishonest–neither especially desirable traits in a spiritual counselor.

Sometimes people confuse a reader’s ability to get hits–accurate information–as proof the reader is “genuine.” Unfortunately, that’s not going to protect you. Some frauds are masters of cold reading, making it seem like they know all about you when they don’t, while others may actually be able to access psychic information–anyone can learn–but use that information unethically. Free will is always a factor. Not everyone is getting their info directly from your guardian angels and guides, man.

The very best way to protect yourself from psychic frauds (and a whole lot more) is really very simple: TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for your own life. Trust your inner voice and walk away as soon as you feel uncomfortable! Never, ever, ever give away your power–to someone calling themselves a psychic, a minister, a medium, a friend, a spouse or your mother. Never, ever, ever rely on someone else to make your decisions, live your life, or call the shots for you. That’s your job. Readers can be a huge help for those seeking clarity, insight, perspective and assistance in making informed choices. But a reader who is willing to make your decisions is not a reader who has your best interests at heart.

Be smart. Even if you’re given solid insight from a reader, always look for your own confirmation, always do a gut-check, and never accept as truth anything that doesn’t ring true for you. Keep your power intact and readings can be a powerful tool!

Do you have any to add?

About the Author: Dixie Vogel is a Tarot Reader and Spiritual Counselor who focuses on empowering her clients to regain control of their own lives. This article, 8 Ways to Spot a Psychic Fraud, was originally published on Dixie’s website, A Fool’s Journey.

This article is presented as a public service under a Creative Commons Attribution License. Reprints of this article are permissible as long as the “About the Author” credit and links to the original content remain intact. Please feel free to share it. Thank you!

Hit-and-Run Doomsday Psychic Readers

I recently wrote on negative predictions in readings, from the angle that folks sometimes zero in on less-than-glowing bits in an otherwise optimistic reading. One of the comments I got on that piece was heartbreaking–and I think deserves a followup.

First of all Julie, I’m SO sorry this happened! I’d argue with the “reputable” label, though I realize it’s based on how the reader is perceived as opposed to who they really are. But even then, I just cannot bring myself to repeat the word without a rebuttal. Ugh!

I obviously don’t know your specific situation, but wanted to take this opportunity to comment on  those readers who don’t fit the m.o. of a run-of-the-mill psychic fraud scam artist but still do a huge amount of damage, what I call “Doomsday Psychic Readers.” Such a reader’s reputation may not reflect the self-aggrandizing insensitivity with which they toss out horrific and disturbing predictions. So many traumatized by this sort of reading do not talk about it, so the fear-mongering style, what essentially amounts to emotional violence, can often remain under the radar.

Consumers may not be able to completely avoid these types, but it can help to be informed. I’m hoping these thoughts may help someone avoid some unnecessary pain…

Signs of a Quality Reader

  • A psychic, Tarot reader, astrologer or any other metaphysical professional IS NOT GOD! We are just as human as you, regardless of what tools we  use. That means we do not know everything and even if we do “get” something, we can still be wrong. Responsible readers are upfront about their own human fallibility.
  • A good reading will leave you feeling empowered! If the reader tosses out a lot of dire predictions–especially without offering support and coping skills for constructively addressing your situation–it’s a strong sign of someone who is selling fear, not truth. Whether the point is to hook you into more readings or simply flame up an over-sized ego at your expense, the outcome is much the same and not pretty.
  • Responsible readers can articulate an ethical code for their work. The specifics will vary, but this is an area that every professional reader should have given serious attention.
  • Responsible readers answer questions you actually ask. A given reader may or may not volunteer some stray information that comes through in the course of a session, but if you’re getting horrific revelations without asking about a given topic, that’s a huge red flag.
  • Attitude is instructive: responsible readers do not savor delivering dire news. Quality readers look to HELP and support their clients, not appear important. We may sometimes have to deliver tough readings, but a good reader won’t be matter-of-fact about your pain.
  • High-quality spiritual communication always comes from a place of love. While everybody has some form of intuition and a person does not have to be “spiritual” to access it, the best readers are going to be “plugged in” spiritually. Ideally, a reader will work on personal spiritual development before undertaking a career involved in guiding others spiritually. You want readers who are generally kind and loving. (In my observation, these folks tend to have the most advanced skills, as well as being the least likely to deliver irresponsible emotional smacks to clients.)

You cannot always avoid a Doomsday Psychic Reader, but you CAN honor your own path by making sure that anyone you choose to listen to is actually helping you! If a reading is simply upsetting and not constructive, if a reading drums up fear and dread but not a sense of direction for improving your life, you can bet the reader is NOT serving your higher good. You do not have to accept what such a person has to say.

Protect yourself by guarding your own mind and heart. Be a vigilant gatekeeper and only let love inside. That will protect you from far more than Doomsday Psychic Readers.

Have you had good luck with readers? Do you have anything to add to this list? 

Why can’t you tell me what I want to know?

Sometimes, you have a burning question and I WANT to answer it, but cannot. Why?

Short answer: A combination of intent for the reading and the cooperation of the reader’s “people” (or yours) may keep certain information from coming through in a session. What we want to know isn’t always in perfect alignment with our current life lessons and trek.

Do you find this to be the case?

Fluffy Bunny Psychicism (Right Does NOT = Light)

If psychic abilities come from God/the Universe/Source/Insert-Deity-of-Choice-Here, then it’s good and only good, right? If you play ugly, you’ll lose the gift?

A LOT of people feel that way.

I get the reasoning. The implied argument is that if someone CAN do this “psychic gig,” they must be good and upright and just. Gotta be from Spirit and Spirit is always loving, right?

That right there is how people get conned out of thousands of dollars, man! People also say that a beautiful voice is “a gift from God.” But we don’t automatically trust somebody because they can sing pretty, now do we?

Why do people assume all Spirits are of the light, kind and benevolent variety? And that we, in our uber-fairy-magical-rainbow-wonderous-energetic-specialness, can ONLY connect to love and light and goodness?

“Why, evil only exists to those who believe,” they’ll tell you–“and if you don’t believe, it cannot hurt you.”

To that, I respectfully say, “Bullshit.” That belief serves about as well on the astral plane as it does on the physical plane, man.


We readily accept the idea that there are all manners and varieties of PEOPLE on this planet, but not the same of Spirits. We attribute the idea of specialness to those who have “the gift,” sometimes forgetting that WE, too, have the same birthright to the psychic senses as anybody else. We are ALL psychic. Some of us are just better at it naturally–or often, just work harder at developing it–than others, no different from any other gifts humanity shares.

I DO believe if I were to misuse my abilities, I’d run the risk of losing the knack of tuning in the same way I do now. But that’s not because I think the only source of spiritual help is soft, baby-faced cherubs who bask in the light of my inherent goodwill. It’s because I am trying to DO something meaningful and hence, can attract a higher vibration of spiritual contact than, say, four drunks with an oijii board on Halloween.

If I went seriously south by my own choice, it’s my belief “the flow” as I can access it  currently would dry up in a New York minute. That doesn’t mean I couldn’t find any Spirits to help. Thing is, we attract what we ARE. If we’re con artists, we’ll attract spirit helpers that are con artists, too. If we’re liars, we’ll attract lying spirits. If we’re well-intentioned healers, we’ll attract spirits that are well-intentioned healers. I know what I want to be, and what I want to attract.

I’ve MET con artists who can do readings. Being a good reader doesn’t make someone a good person. Free will and all, y’know?

Don’t equate accuracy with goodness. Always, always, always listen for the ring of truth in your own heart. That ring of truth trumps any aura of righteousness anybody tosses around. NEVER give away your power. That’s the bottom line.

What do you think?

Tarot Readers Judging Clients

Altarpiece of the Last Judgement, detail; 1443-46; Hotel Dieu at Beaune

“Please don’t judge me.”

The words were just typed into a chat box, but I felt a hesitation, the cringe of negative expectation, just as clearly as if she’d been sitting next to me, looking me in the eye.

“I won’t judge you. I promise.”

I typed the words back, because I wanted them to have that written-word-weight, but also looked up into the camera so she could see my sincerity. She needed to see my sincerity.

“He’s married,” she confessed.

“I don’t judge you,” I reiterated. I meant it, just as much as the first time I said it.

I was doing a video/chat Tarot reading, and set about answering her questions as best I could, leaving aside the morality concerns. She didn’t need my help with the morality issues, no doubt already having had many sleepless nights to struggle with that herself. She was looking for perspective and information on where circumstances currently sat, and I did my best to give exactly that to her.

This isn’t to say I’m a fan of extra-marital affairs. I certainly don’t want any in my personal life! It just means that I am not the keeper of anyone else’s path. I don’t know why a person is where they are. I don’t know where their own path is leading and what is “bad” to me may well be a part of their own journey. I don’t know about the marriage or about the affair or about the people involved or what brought them to where they are right now. Just because I’m a reader doesn’t mean I’m omnipotent. I don’t ever forget that fact.

But more importantly, I’m not here to determine right and wrong for anyone else. I don’t want the karma!

Yes, there are circumstances I don’t think I could put aside well enough to effectively consult. Murder or exploitation of children come to mind as a couple of examples. I could never be objective. There are also some acts for which I will not be a participant because I don’t feel right or good about doing so–every time I’ve ever tried to fudge even a little on what I feel good about, it’s cost me. So if you’re looking to “psychic spy” on your ex, I am not the Tarot Diva for you!

But just because you make different decisions than I would in general doesn’t give me the right to look down upon you. There is always a balance to be struck, between encouraging others to reach for what I perceive to be higher, more positive expressions of energy, versus being convinced I as just a humble Tarot chick have the right to make those calls for everyone else on the planet.

So yeah. If I don’t feel good about what I’m trying to do with our work together, I won’t do it. But you’re free to live your own life regardless, without me sending disapproving vibes or spouting moral imperatives and declarations of ultimate righteousness at you. To me, the point is living righteously, not preaching it. I believe living righteously is the most meaningful way of preaching it anyway.

What’s your take on readers judging clients?

(P.S. If you’d like to try a live video reading, we can Skype or use another video chat online for the same cost as a phone reading. You don’t need a camera. Just let me know when you get a consult.)

Scratchy Readings…I do ’em!

Scratchy ReadingsI’ve had to give a few very scratchy readings recently. These are rather hard to give but I’ve no doubt, much harder to receive. I do feel bad doing them, even when I’m handing over stark declarations. Never think for a moment it’s done cavalierly.

Honestly, I think my only saving grace here is working from love and  utterly without judgment. Otherwise, it would be intolerable to receive some of these readings. Especially if it’s square on target…

I have learned not to censor, although I won’t say I am never tempted to put on a sweeter spin, pull back, especially if I’m not sure. But I try to overcome that temptation, because I know it doesn’t serve. Every single time I’ve given in without exception, I’ve regretted doing so. I believe I get what I get for a reason. I believe the people who are drawn to work with me are so drawn for a reason. That’s the deal. I mean, how can you do this kind of work and NOT have faith around you’re doing, you know?

I can say people often seem most grateful for the scratchy readings. Not always, but often. Probably because it’s information sorely needed. And there’s been more than once, from followup I’ve learned that a very scratchy reading made a very positive difference in someone’s life. I’m grateful and relieved to know that! It balances out the sting, justifies it. But that doesn’t make it feel good at the time. However, I’m far more interested in helping you find your power than helping you feel good in that moment.

I know I’m skilled in addressing difficult circumstances. The years I spent working in crisis management, psych, addictions counseling and the like? It was training, for what I’m doing now! My directness is an integral part of who I am, so it only stands to reason it would be part of the right work for me. Anything short would be disingenuous. I’m not big on disingenuous, in case that’s not evident.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel for you. Far from it! So when I send you that reading that comes across like a knife in the gut, I’m very sorry for the pain. I consider it surgery, not gratuitous emotional violence. But I do understand, it still hurts the same. So please forgive me for my bluntness, understand the intent, and use whatever it is to your best advantage, okay? Use it it heal.

You ever get (or give) scratchy readings? How do you deal with it?