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!


  1. Pulled this up again because (unfortunately) there is need.

  2. Hahaha, Josi!!

    Yep, I’ve seen a couple of those when friends asked me what I thought. I told them exactly what I thought.

    The thing that sets my radar off on anyone – teachers, healers, psychics – is when they try to motivate me through FEAR.
    When I hear that, I walk away.

    • Libby, that is a HUGE one! It sets me off like nobodies business when I see that…I consider it violation of a sacred trust. Ugh.

    • Exactly. Motivation through fear is a huge red flag. In Carol K. Anthony’s A Guide to the I Ching, there’s quote I always remember: “The first device of control is to make you doubt yourself.”

  3. She goes on to illustrate how she KNOWS my lack of self confidence is what is keeping me from subscribing to her advice and sending her money. I received the emails for about a week (they came daily)..mainly for my own entertainment.
    re: my lack of self confidence, she says:
    “Listen to me! Stop thinking you’ll never have any good luck or that you aren’t strong enough or deserving enough to have your own piece of happiness. Stop telling yourself that others are better than you. Stop thinking, “What good does it do to believe my life can change?” Your lack of self-confidence condemns you to suffer. And you must wake up and act before it’s too late. You have the right to something other than unhappiness.”
    And, of course, she is the only one who has the keys to my enlightenment and it will only cost me a minimal monthly investment.

    really? LOL

    • Oh, that’s some good sales copy, right there! Especially the lack of self-confidence. Since EVERYBODY lacks self-confidence at times, it’s a Barnum effect statement.

  4. Tells you stuff like this: (actual email excerpt)

    “Your life can be amazing! You can wake up every day bursting with energy and with the joy that comes from living a life you love. Don’t suffer from nine to five, barely making ends meet. You can live the life of your dreams. You can awaken and follow all of your passions.

    Let me tell you, Josi. I’m both happy and sad for you.
    I’m happy for you, Josi, because I know I can make a difference in your future.

    At the same time, I’m saddened to see that you might have a confidence problem when it comes to yourself and your future. Don’t you have faith that your happiness is just on the horizon?”

    LOL. Why sure, I have faith that happiness awaits me. I just don’t think sending you my credit card information to you (as all knowing and powerful as you are) will manifest it.


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