In search of spiritual guidance? Beware of no-show psychics, a watchdog group warns.
In fact, one client reported losing $3,500 to a psychic who promised to rid her of evil spirits but instead left her out of thousands of dollars, according to the Better Business Bureau.
Experts are warning people to be wary of the scam, which usually begins with a client booking a session with a social media influencer who claims to be knowledgeable about psychic readings, astrology, tarot and other services. The “spiritual adviser” will request payment upfront, usually via a digital wallet app like Zelle or CashApp.
When the time comes for your reading, however, the person is unreachable — or doesn’t show up at all. Requests for a refund usually end with being blocked, or “ghosted,” by the psychic in question, the BBB said.
The agency’s online Scam Tracker has received a half-dozen reports of such scams since April, with victims detailing how they were duped out of their money.
“[The psychic] takes payment up front and frequently misses readings,” one person wrote after booking a tarot reading. When you ask for a refund, the person said, the psychic “yells at you, claims to not know you, tells you [they] have too many emails to respond to and eventually blocks you without refunding.”
A California resident who says they were scammed out of $3,500 recalled being pressured to pay an additional fee to “cleanse the evil spirits” and threatened with a curse if they spoke about it.
“She gets you to come back by saying she will do healing meditation,” they wrote. “She also says you are not allowed to speak to anyone about the meditation or the reading, ‘or else.’ “
To avoid getting scammed by a social media “psychic,” the BBB recommends doing your homework on a seller by reviewing their social media page and checking the comments under their posts. Negative reviews from disgruntled clients are usually the first red flag.
Check the business’s appointment protocols, the watchdog group says, and get written confirmation of payment if possible. It’s also important to know exactly what you’re paying for and what the service entails before booking.