Living in Los Angeles, a town where psychics are only outnumbered by yoga studios, I know that a lot of people believe that the occult can help solve relationship problems. I’ve been there; after a particularly bad breakup I was one of those people Googling ‘Voodoo Curses To Bring Your Ex Back Tonight’ at 4am. I’m not questioning whether it’s a rational idea to believe that ordering a raccoon penis bone online will balance your relationship (that’s another post), but I do want to protect emotionally vulnerable people from sending money into a vacuum. Because lately I’ve been noticing more and more ‘fake psychics’ using the comment section of legitimate love advice sites to troll for victims. Many people who send money and can’t get it back never come forward because they don’t want to admit that they got dumped, then duped. So how can we spot scammers? And is there any way to find a legitimate psychic?
- Before you send money, investigate the source website and email address. Many of the fake psychic testimonials aren’t on a proper business URL – they are usually found in the comment section of a legitimate website. I’ve seen them pop up on Men’s Health, The Daily Love, Farmville and Facebook. They start with a description of how they got dumped, followed by a lover ‘miraculously’ coming back, babies and money after they consulted the psyhic.
Example: ‘at first when i met dr khakani i was thinking he also wants to scam me off my money, But he told me to give him a chance that what will he gain if he adds pain to my pain,That all he want his my happiness….when dr khakani casted this spell my lover steve called me…Steve Bought me a Brand New Car, And i also had access to his account to prove to me that he will never leave me. You can contact dr khakani for help and he will never disappoint you. His email firstname.lastname@example.org Or cell Number +2348062216903’. And people are responding: Recently on The Daily Love, I saw at least three people asking how to contact these scam psychics.
- Examine the country code of the phone number. The +234 number is a dead giveaway – that’s the country code for Nigeria. Is the email address from a business, or a random Hotmail or Gmail account? At the very least, plug the email address into scam finder site or Google and see if any complaints come up.
- Check license and credentials. Though traditionally this area wasn’t really regulated by state and federal authorities, times are changing and more and more locations are cracking down on fraud. Many cities/counties snow require that psychics pay a licensing fee and go through criminal background checks – in Las Vegas, for example, most psychics have to apply for a business license. The American Association of Psychics states that you have a right to ask for a refund 10 minutes into the reading, and recommends that you DO NOT use hotlines.
- Check reviews, and make sure that you understand exactly what you are buying. Steer clear of ‘character reviews’ – these are general statements like ‘you project confidence, but deep down you are really shy and unsure’ seem dead-on. These are meaningless. If you don’t believe me, close your eyes and point to a horoscope in the paper other than your own – chances are, you’ll identify with them all.
- Remember that you can’t make someone love you. And the only person you can change is yourself. Think of better ways you could spend the $250 that ‘Dr. Khakani’ charges to feel better post-breakup. You could take a trip, put it in a savings account, go to a spa, buy a package of personal trainer sessions, visit a friend, or – if you need to talk to someone about your relationship ending – get a few therapy sessions.