Commissioner's blog: Beware the misfortune tellers
Fortune tellers have been gazing into crystal balls for centuries and remain a popular destination for people seeking guidance in their lives today.
While many clairvoyants conduct their business with little controversy, in recent months Consumer Protection has become aware that scammers offering ‘psychic’ readings are ramping up efforts to extract money from unsuspecting shoppers at suburban malls.
WA ScamNet is aware of two victims who were approached by psychic scammers at separate locations for an initial $20 reading, before being told they needed to pay several hundred dollars to have a curse removed.
The cash-grab doesn’t finish there – the scammers continue claiming the bad energy or curse has not been removed and try to convince their victims to spend thousands more to attend elaborate ceremonies at the scammer’s home.
One local victim was even told to bring along a bizarre list of grocery items to her ceremony, including apples, oranges and a bag of rice, but was eventually told her curse needed intervention from their Indian master and the sacrifice of several goats.
Thankfully it was at this point she realised it was a scam that had only cost her $110 to this point, however the Nine Network’s A Current Affair program recently interviewed a couple of victims who had lost more than $20,000 between them in this way.
There are ways to protect yourself:
- If you are approached by a psychic or clairvoyant and they say that you are in danger, have bad luck or are cursed, be very cautious – their solution is likely to be a scam.
- If you want to engage the services of a psychic or clairvoyant, ensure you know the total cost of anything you order and exactly what you will receive. Ask if there are any conditions and ongoing or hidden costs.
- Do not let them pressure you into any further ceremonies or readings or to give them more money.
If you’ve lost money to a psychic scam, contact WA ScamNet on 1300 30 40 54 or email@example.com
More information on the scams is available on WA ScamNet’s website: www.scamnet.wa.gov.au/scamnet/Scam_types-Buying_or_selling-Psychic__clairvoyant-Shopping_centre_psychic_scam.htm
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