In this important blogpost, two professional tarot readers, Amie Mouser and I, share six red flags for metaphysical scams.
Any good-hearted, talented metaphysical practitioner will tell you that one of our biggest professional challenges is dealing with the harm caused by the many unscrupulous scam artists who intentionally blur the distinctions between what they do and what we do.
I recently had a conversation on an unrelated topic in a social media group. One of the participants in the conversation noticed that I am a professional tarotist and therefore decided that what I had to say had no merit because I was clearly morally deficient. A few others joined in with the same opinion. To them, tarot reader equals scam artist. Sadly, there is a real reason some people feel this way. There may be more metaphysical scam artists than there are competent, reliable professionals.
At around the same time, in the sort of synchronicity that gives meaning to things, Amie Mouser, my friend, colleague and student, reached out to tell me of a situation that had developed in her practice.
You see, we honest, well-intentioned practitioners often are the ones who have to clean up the messes and try to heal the damage done by scammers. Typically, we spend a lot of time, often at no charge, helping our clients understand that they have been scammed, and helping them discern the difference between healing metaphysical work and con jobs.
Amie handled her situation well and got her client on the right track.
In our conversation, it became clear that we both have a lot to say on this topic, and that we both have a lot of ire toward those who prey on vulnerable people who are simply seeking healing.
I asked Amie if she wanted to collaborate on a blog post about this topic. She quickly sent over a brilliant list of red flags to help spiritual seekers avoid getting scammed. I will share those next, and then add my comments at the end. Please note that arguably all metaphysical practitioners see people running these scams, and those hurt by them, virtually every day. Read, and beware!
Amie’s Scam Alert: The Top Five Red Flags
The Curse Remover
Most of us have heard of or encountered this tactic. If you’re new to all this, these are the people who tell you that a curse, hex, spell, bad energy, etc., has been placed on you, or your loved one. They then offer to remove said curse for a fee. Many times, the fees are exorbitant…like into the thousands. These kinds of scammers may even string victims along through repeated payments and sessions claiming that the curse is Herculean and difficult to battle.
The Trapped Soul Assistant
Can we connect with our loved ones across the veil? I believe we can. Are there reputable mediums and tarot readers who can help deliver messages from the departed which bring about a great deal of healing and peace? I believe so! I have a deep connection and communication with those who have died. I have experienced this first-hand and include connection with the departed in readings with clients.
That being said, if a reader suddenly “sees” your loved one suffering, stuck, or unable to find the light and offers to help them cross over for a juicy fee, that is a huge red flag!
The Metaphysical Prosperity Evangelist
This person is usually charismatic and wants you to get serious! Do you have a dream you want to manifest? Are you looking to achieve higher levels of activation? Do you want to finally heal? For thousands of dollars, they claim to do the work it will take to get you there. Here’s a quote from someone just this week.
“You can do all the free programs, read all the free books, but until you take responsibility for your own growth by buying my program…you will achieve nothing. You have to show the Universe that you are taking responsibility by taking the step and committing your money.”
This is just not how the Universe works, IMHO.
The Smarmy Salesperson
Respecting boundaries and priorities are a challenge for this type. When the sales pressure continues even after you have expressed disinterest, financial hardship, or reasons why now is not a good time to spend money, consider this a red flag.
No one reputable would suggest you prioritize high-dollar spiritual programs over a needed dental procedure or medical test.
I had a client who expressed the need to have expensive dental work done to a Smarmy Salesperson. Ol’ Smarmy insisted the treatment was not necessary and the client should seek a second opinion, and then continued with high pressure sales tactics. Gross!
True story. Charging a client thousands of dollars for a spiritual program, and then reaching out with another charge to cover the 3.5% merchant services fee is absurd. This one totally blew my mind! News Flash: Business owners have the responsibility to pay for their own business expenses.
Christiana here again. I’m so grateful for Amie’s clear, succinct and humorous list. The problem is, of course, that these scammers speak enough truth that it is easy for hurting, fearful clients to get sucked into their lies.
Many scammers are part of organized groups that help them orchestrate these scams.
It’s true that many cultures believe in curses and have a practice of offering magic-for-hire. More than two decades ago I thought it would be easy enough to just say that magic-for-hire is wrong, and curses are BS.
Now, I understand that there are revered and legitimate practitioners of particular cultural traditions who offer these services in ways that are uplifting and non-scammy.
How can you tell the difference?
Legitimate practitioners have set, reasonable prices for their services, are willing to explain their practices in practical terms, and don’t spread or capitalize on fear.
I’m glad Amie mentioned the prosperity scammers. Whether these people are misinterpreting the Law of Attraction or buying into the heinous “Prosperity Gospel”, this line of thinking is dangerous and morally bankrupt. Spiritualizing greed and teaching that it’s okay to turn our backs on folks in need is the exact opposite of good spiritual practice in any religion or culture.
I have only one red flag to add to Amie’s list. Here it is.
The Over-Enthusiastic and Under-Experienced Tarot Business Coach
There are numerous tarot business coaches out there. Some of them are really great. Some of them, like me, have actually written books on how to become a tarot professional. However, some of them have achieved modest success in a very short period of time and chose to capitalize on their limited success by quickly becoming ‘tarot business coaches’ and offering very expensive programs for would-be readers.
The problems with this are three-fold. First, they promise unrealistic results. Despite what they will tell you in order to sell their programs, here is the truth. It takes years to become a good tarot reader, not months. It is very hard to have an internet-only fulltime tarot career. A six-figure income is possible, but rare.
The second problem is that they, themselves, simply don’t have the experience to give good guidance.
The third problem is that very often, these ‘tarot business coaches’ offer advice on the legal aspects of tarot business, including local business licensing and tax advice. If you are serious about your tarot business, you will get your legal advice from town, county and state officials, attorneys and accountants. No one else is qualified to give such advice. To accept or request advice from anyone else is stupid and dangerous. To offer such advice as a ‘tarot business coach’ is nothing short of an egregious scam.
Whether you are looking for a reading, a program, a course or a coach, there are plenty of good, reputable practitioners from which to choose. Just make sure you vet the professional you choose. If you see any of these red flags, please don’t allow yourself to be scared, bullied or tempted.