Be Wise to Psychic Scams

Jul 29, 2022

People are subject to all kinds of vulnerabilities when they’re stressed out. And few events in decades stressed people out more than the global events of the past few years: the pandemic, civil unrest, war, climate change, financial uncertainty and a marked increase in fraud and scams, to name a few.

It’s all very disconcerting on so many levels and the result is people often may turn to alternative sources of spiritual help in order to alleviate their fears or discomfort. And this can, quite possibly, open them up to some dubious characters or schemes.

Stress Can Make Us Vulnerable

When people are stressed out, they can fall prey to a wide range of scams, according to both the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) and American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). Said AARP’s Amy Nofziger, director, fraud programs at the height of the pandemic: “People are feeling very vulnerable and lost right now. Some seek out a therapist or religious adviser; some turn to a vice, like drinking, gambling or shopping; and some look to a psychic.”

The impact of this latter form of fraud, perpetrated by self-described psychics, clairvoyants, fortune-tellers, spiritual advisers, and astrologers, was considerable in 2020 and 2021. And, as most of us know, they’ve been a feature of the fraud landscape for generations.

Among recent complaints to the AARP helpline:

  • A 54-year-old woman in Canada lost $24

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