🚩1. They Approach You For A Reading
They contact you on social media for a reading. They send you a private message offering their services. They find ways to reach out and tell you they have a message for you. They approach you on the street. These are always, always, ALWAYS scam and fraudulent readers. No legitimate reader will, ever, ever, EVER chase you down, seek you out, find you, initiate contact or send you a message in an attempt to do a reading for you. Legitimate readers wait for you to come to them.
🚩2. They're So Vague, They Hope You Think This Song Is About You... aka They Give You a Lot of Information That Can't Be Validated
They are vague and don't give specifics. They give information you can't possibly validate or verify, such as telling you that you have a 'Spirit Animal' (<-- which is cultural appropriation btw) or that you were so-and-so in a past life. Says your great-great-great-someone was a Witch or healer or some other unverifyable such and such. You will have three children in five years with a handsome partner from overseas- you have NO way of verifying this until so far into the future they are long gone (with your money) and you may have even forgotten by then. And it's always possible they stumble on the truth now and again- statistically anyone making wild predictions will simply guess right some of the time. This doesn't make them any less fraudulent, though.
Common vague statements include:
You're at a crossroads
Who's the father figure I'm sensing?
There's a strong male/female influence
You've been stressed/worried/upset lately
You're a giver
You're an independent thinker
Someone you know has fallen on hard times
You're feeling lost/directionless
Who's the brother/sister I'm seeing?
You've lost someone close to you
There's a maternal figure you are having conflict with
Who has cancer?
You're dealing with heartbreak
At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing
🚩3. They Provide 'Therapy'
There's a reason that counselors and therapists need specific licenses and qualifications. That's because working in the capacity of a therapist requires very specific and careful training as a mental health provider.
When you go see a reader, psychic or wellness coach, unless they are licensed and qualified, they are not there to provide you with actual therapy. Yet many attempt to do just this.
We have all become educated and familiar with therapy terminology and it would be a big red flag for a Tarot reader or Reiki provider to veer out of their lane and try to counsel you using diagnostic language outside their field of expertise.
But what is the differences between a Spiritual counselor and a mental health provider?
There are some similarities and overlap with Spiritual coaching/counseling and therapy. Spiritual counseling can feel therapeutic at times, but that does not mean it is therapy. On that same note, therapy sometimes can feel deeply spiritual, but it is not spiritual direction. One can even enhance the other. For example, your work in therapy to improve your psychological health can help clear the way and increase your ability to connect with yourself magickally and Spiritually. Likewise, your Spiritual and magickal growth can improve your capacity to work on psychological issues.
A mental health therapist or psychologist is a healthcare professional who has been licensed by their state to provide psychotherapy services. This usually requires a Master's or PhD level of education and thousands of hours of supervised, hands-on clinical practice over the course of two to eight years. Patients typically work with a psychologist on a long-term basis. They meet with their therapists regularly, working to resolve their mental health issues and overcome related challenges.
A reader, psychic, Reiki provider, Spiritual counselor or wellness coach is not a healthcare professional. Because states largely do not require these roles to be licensed or certified, more often than not, readers & psychics simply do not have this training or background. The purpose of most readings or spiritual sessions is to empower you to identify current areas of your life that are preventing you from achieving your goals, and ways you can make progress toward them. They predominantly focus on the present and future, whereas therapy predominantly focuses on your past.
There are significant differences between the objectives of a reader or psychic and those of therapist, as well as between the focus of their sessions with clients. A therapist focuses on patients’ feelings and thought patterns. Therapy enables patients to develop a greater understanding of how their past experiences and thought patterns influence their behaviors and emotions.
Whereas a therapist focuses on the reasons for a patient’s behaviors and thought patterns, a life coach focuses on how their clients can overcome current problems. Readings, of course, can also explore past experiences and emotional trauma to a limited extent. However, it will largely focus on how clients can change their current behaviors in order to build the lives they want for themselves.
I can't emphasize enough that a mental health therapist or psychologist is trained and licensed to diagnose mental health disorders. These professionals frequently work with individuals dealing with infidelity, abuse, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and similar challenges. Although therapists are not able to prescribe medications like psychiatrists can, they administer mental health treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy.
In contrast, a reader, Spiritual adviser, Life Coach, or psychic does not have the ability or authority to diagnose a mental health disorder or treat serious behaviors. Remember my warning above- a Reader or Psychic using medical or mental health terminology outside the scope of their practice is a red flag. They can not diagnose your boyfriend as a 'narcissist' (btw- neither can you) anymore than they can prescribe thyroid medication or perform heart surgery. They can also not administer mental health treatments, such as psychotherapy.
With this all said, a reader or Spiritual counselor who believes that a client may be struggling with mental health issues can refer that person to a mental health therapist.
And let me tell y'all, I practice what I preach. This is something I personally do a LOT, referring folks to therapy, that is. The truth as I see it is the vast majority of people who come to me for advice or a reading are in serious need of professional help. 15, 20 and 25 years ago when I did readings more frequently and taught divination, people would ask about appropriate things in a reading, meaning things that were well within the scope of what a reading is meant to be about. Today, people have very different expectations for what a reading is supposed to do for them. That may be because the cost of healthcare has skyrocketed and often doesn't cover mental health services, or they just don't realize there is actually a difference between the two.
Even though I rarely do readings for others anymore, I see this trend and know the struggles that go with it. They want me to act as both a psychic and a therapist, and I am neither. They look to me as someone who has all the answers. I don't. I have a Master's degree, was a social worker & case manager for many years, have had mental health diagnostic training, herbal training, and even legal training. Yet, I know where my limits are. I know I am not a doctor or licensed therapist and don't try to be one for my clients. I stay in my lane. These new readers are most certainly not staying in their lanes. They take an online class for a week, go have business cards printed and open up shop with little to no experience as a reader or frankly in life.
For most readers, it's easy to blur these lines or take these on as your role when you don't have clear ethical boundaries and principles. For one, it's easy money when you can just tell a client whatever they want to hear, or try to be everything to everyone. This is the path of least resistance and I'm afraid the majority of people who get into the business of being a reader or psychic fall under this category (whether they are capable of admitting it to themselves or not is a whole different matter). For second, a sincere desire to just help, while not intentionally fraudulent, can lead readers to give advice or make statements that exceed their scope of practice and qualifications. Rather than say 'I don't know' or 'I'm not qualified to answer that' they see the client is desperate for some kind of answer and so they just try to fill the role, and sometimes convince themselves that therapy given by them is really divine in nature so it must be good and helpful. Many readers simply are afraid to tell a client 'No'.
While I don't personally do readings for others very often, I do get multiple requests for Spiritual guidance and advice every single day. I regularly turn people away who come to me for advice or help and invite them to explore therapy first or simply tell them I can't help them. Whether they go get that therapy or simply seek out a different Witch is completely up to them and not my business. Other times I suggest licensed therapy in addition to the Spiritual work we are doing together. If you find a reader who never says 'No', who blurs the lines between therapist and psychic, or who doesn't set these boundaries with their clients, that is a big red flag.
🚩4. Focus Almost Exclusively On Reading the Future (Fails to Confirm Present-Goings On)
Readings in real life are not like they are in the movies. They don't give you death dates or predict what you will be doing in five years. Professional, ethical readers know that divining the future is a wooly business. They know that the future is never set in stone. The moment you leave the reading everything starts to shift. You have new information and you make a series of decisions that will alter whatever the cards, bones or oracle showed. A good reader will tell you this is just one possibility, and remind you that you are the decider of your fate. You are the one in charge of your life. You are the one who will ultimately determine what you want. You hold far more power over the trajectory of your life than any Tarot spread or psychic vision from a reader ever will.
It's a red flag when the reader gives you information almost exclusively based on future predictions. You have no way to verify or interact with these messages because they haven't happened yet. Whether it's two weeks from now or two years, you won't get your money back when it turns out not to be true. A reader can say anything at all about the future because you just have to trust them in the moment. It's a red flag for a reader or psychic to spend much time on future predictions, especially when they actively seem to avoid reading your past or present.
Future readings can be vague and apply to a lot of possibilities, increasing the psychic or reader's likelihood you will encounter just such a scenario and credit them for accurate work. Or, they can be absurdly detailed to the point of dates and times, names and personal details, that it increases your trust and belief in the moment so much you leave a bigger tip than you would have because you feel like you are walking away with real, secret knowledge that, thanks to this reader, you are now privileged to know, and that was worth something.
Predicting future happenings is also dangerous because as the person who's future has been 'foretold', you are much more likely to make decisions that make whatever the psychic told you a self-fulfilling prophecy. You try to shoehorn people and events to fit the prediction, start seeing everything through the lens of the prediction, and stop seeing people and situations as they really are.
A dark, handsome, wealthy, exotic stranger is in your future? Now when you meet any stranger that remotely fits the description you are inclined to ignore all the ways they are not a good match for you and exclusively focus on what you want to be true because it's 'supposed' to happen, it's your destiny. When you rely on a reader or psychic's prediction of your future, you are likely to try to force your reality to line up with that prediction- suddenly definitions for 'dark', 'handsome', 'wealthy', 'exotic' and even 'stranger' become highly subjective and flexible for you. If the psychic predicted you would move to another state, you immediately start looking at jobs and opportunities in that state. You want the prediction to be true. You believe in it! You'll do all kinds of mental gymnastics to make it make sense and come true. But that still won't mean that psychic actually saw a thing.
🚩5. No Social Proof or Testimonials
Legitimate readers are not afraid to get reviews, and good readers welcome their customers' feedback. Good readers get word of mouth. Word gets around. If you find a suspicious lack of testimonials or absence of any online presence that's a red flag. If no one in your circle or community has heard of them, that's a red flag. Legitimate readers get reviews, even bad ones sometimes. The vast majority should be glowing reviews from customers having good experiences with this reader or psychic. Beware readers with mostly bad reviews, and especially if you see multiple reviews of someone being scammed or not getting what they paid for. Look out for paid reviews and testimonials, too, because when you can't find even a single bad review or when they all are over the top praise, that's a red flag that they may not be genuine.
By the way, the very worst places to find someone to do a reading for you is on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or TikTok. It's not only rife with con artists and scammers, it's too easy to create a fake account and disappear as soon as you try to get your money back, and there's almost no way to get help from the social media site or authorities. Other places to steer clear of when looking for a reader, psychic, medium or other diviner are craigslist, magazine ads, 900-services or pay-per-minute psychics, through the mail, from an unsolicited email or phone call, or anyone else who approaches you.
🚩6. Call Your Toxic Ex Your 'Twin Flame'
The vast majority of readings are related to love and romantic relationships. Enter the psychic scam bonanza because people desperate for love will literally believe almost anything, which makes them perfect clients for frauds hoping to cash in.
I hope by now everyone is wise to the total and complete garbage pile of a concept of 'Twin Flames'. If not, start by watching the three-part documentary series, Desperately Seeking Soulmate: Escaping Twin Flames (Netflix). Then, read this article. Then this one. Oh, and don't forget this one.
If you believe in Twin Flames, you've been dupped. Run as fast as you can toward professional help to deprogram from this toxic culty of belief.
Twin Flames are popular with the Love & Light crystal crowd, in the wellness, astrology, New Age and Spiritual communities, and they've made their way into Tarot readings, aura readings and other oracles. No, the idea of Twin Flames being toxic is not taking what they mean out of context. Followers and believers have been lied to, manipulated, exploited, gaslit and even abused. Any reader, psychic or Spiritual coach using Twin Flame language or encouraging you in these beliefs is a blindingly bright red flag. Get away and don't go back.
🚩7. Being 'Booked' Out For Years
No matter how good they are, I promise you, no one is booked out for readings for years. This is a marketing tactic designed to instill a sense of scarcity but also to manufacture social proof. They want people to believe they are so popular and in demand that their booking calendar is full up for a year or more. But it's not. As soon as you book the next appointment, two years from now, you get a call or email letting you know a sooner booking 'opened up' next week. Readers who use this tactic are trying to bypass the process of earning their social proof through years of hard work, professional development and actual, happy, satisfied customers by taking shortcuts and manipulating new clients.
In reality, it's very possible good readers are booked up for several weeks or even a month or two. Since I don't do readings for others often, my bookings are almost exclusively for private consultations and mentoring, and so I realize I'm not the perfect example for this, but it's the same concept. For example, when I take vacation or have family visiting, I block out my booking calendar so there are no spots for a while. Earlier this year we did quite a bit of traveling, and my bookings calendar was closed for those dates, which spanned several weeks. On top of that. I don't offer many bookings per week, so it can appear I am booked out longer because I offer so few appointments to begin with. This is not due to a manipulation tactic- it's because bookings are a small part of my larger business model. I spend most of my time making Witchcraft products for my Etsy shop, developing my WItchcraft practices, writing (like now), managing my social media business pages and groups, doing side community projects (currently it's the annual Witch's Ball), and balancing my work schedule with making sure I have plenty of family and personal time. All this to say just because you may not have immediate access to your reader is not necessarily an indication they are shady. Some readers really do stay busy and booked and you might have to wait a week or two for an appointment. It's also entirely possible your reader legitimately had a cancellation and can see you sooner- that does happen! These are normal and shouldn't cause suspicion unless the whole model for the reader is based on making you believe they do this full-time and stay booked a year or more out.
🚩8. Ask for Your DOB and Other Personal Information
This one might seem weird considering we often deal with readers who might want to factor in your astrology sign or incorporate numerology using the numerical talley of your DOB or full name. However, beware. A reader doesn't need your DOB to know your sun sign, and a DOB won't tell them much else significant about your natal chart without a time of birth. Of course, if you are specifically seeing an astrologer who is doing a natal chart, that information will be necessary, in which case make sure you know and trust them before handing over your personal information. But a Tarot reader, palm reader, psychic or other oracle of this nature is not in need of personal details. Psychic frauds often ask for DOB, name, address, phone number, spouse's names and info, names and ages of your children, where you grew up, siblings, pet names, and other personal info under the guise of it will help them 'tune in' to you better. But that's a red flag. Often that information gets used for identity theft or credit card fraud. If it starts feeling like a bank application or a buzzfeed quiz, beware.
What are some common indicators of a psychic scam?
Common indicators of psychic scams include:
Guarantees of 100% accurate predictions
Unsolicited contact from the psychic
Insistence on continued payments to remove curses or bring good fortune
Fear tactics to keep clients reliant on their psychic services
How can I protect myself from falling victim to a psychic scam?
To protect yourself from psychic scams:
Do thorough research on the psychic
Read reviews from reputable sources
Be cautious of unsolicited contact
Avoid psychics who use fear tactics
Never share your personal financial information
How can I find a legitimate, trustworthy psychic?
To find a legitimate and trustworthy psychic:
Rely on recommendations from friends, family, or reputable sources
Do thorough research on the psychic’s qualifications
Consider their professional associations
Ensure they follow a code of ethics
Trust your instincts when gauging their authenticity
HOW TO REPORT
If you or a loved one has been threatened or pressured into paying money for psychic services, contact your local FBI field office.
If you think you’ve been a victim of a scam or would like to report fraud call The Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 877-908-3360. Anyone can become the victim of a scam, it’s important to be vigilant and know your vulnerabilities. For instance, if you are looking for a job you are more vulnerable to a work-at-home scam.