Phony Psychics: Is there a scam in your future? -


Phony Psychics: Is there a scam in your future?

Seventy percent of Americans believe in paranormal phenomena. Many people try connecting to the "other side" using mediums, but sometimes the clairvoyance is a con. Here are some tips on how to recognize these crimes.

More Americans are open to the possibility of communicating with the dead, but con artists are posing as spiritual mediums and preying on those who are emotionally vulnerable.

According to sociologists from Baylor University who co-authored the book "Paranormal America," when times are tough, more Americans turn to psychics for spiritual guidance.

As headlines online prove, there's no shortage of scammers who are willing to take advantage of those in need, resulting in psychic scams across the country. The most high profile case involves a band of self-described psychics in Florida who – according to the U.S. Department of Justice – allegedly bilked clients out of $40 million dollars when they falsely represented to their victims that they could remove purported evil spirits and curses from their lives.

Joshua Hunt had no idea he was "cursed." He was a struggling actor in New York who was seeking career advice when he was charmed by a so-called psychic, whose initial consultation was only ten dollars.

Josh said, "It's only ten dollars. I've spent more than that on stuff I don't even need. This is something I'd be willing to pay a thousand dollars for."

In fact, Josh paid even more than that when the woman convinced him he was headed for stardom.  Except there was one problem. "She indeed tells me exactly what I want to hear. Josh, you're not meant to work in that room service job.  You're meant to be an actor. But you see, I get that, you have a dark aura. There's dark spirits affecting your aura. And they're the ones keeping you from achieving what you want to achieve," explains Josh.

She even convinced Josh his money was cursed. So he gave her seventeen hundred dollars in cash so she could "spiritually cleanse" it. But when he went to pick up the clean cash, she was gone and so was all of his money.
Hollister Rand is an internationally renowned psychic medium and author of the book "I'm Not Dead, I'm Different."

She says a legitimate psychic will never play on a client's fear. "The telltale signs of a psychic who's on the grift is someone who asks you the questions. So they may say something like "What is your greatest fear" Or "you look troubled today." Anyone who plays on people's fears and exploits those fears, and makes themselves the only person who can solve your problem. You've got to watch out for people like that."

Hollister says another warning sign is when a psychic insists on seeing a client as often as possible. It is unreasonable for a psychic or a medium to see a client each and every day. A scam artist will try to make you dependent on him or her. Not give you information that empowers you in your own life. A good rule is to not see a medium more than twice, sometimes three times a year at most.

So if you're inclined to see a psychic, consider Hollister Rand's advice: legitimate psychics don't ask questions, they give answers; avoid psychics who use fear-based tactics – like curses—because it's a way to coerce you into spending more money, and remember, a reputable psychic will set limitations on how many times a client can visit while a charlatan will manipulate clients so they become dependent on their services. In some cases, convincing them into believing they're cursed by spirits from beyond.

If you think you've been the victim of a psychic scam the first thing you want to do is file a police report. That will trigger an investigation and it could lead to other victims coming forward, and hopefully put an end to the scam once and for all.

Copyright 2013 America Now. All rights reserved.

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