In seeking out the help of a psychic, we’re usually looking for answers and support through a difficult time in our lives. We’re looking for someone who will listen to our troubles and help guide us through the rough waters and into calmer ones. Psychic history goes back centuries, with people paying biblical prophets to clairvoyant crime solvers to help them predict the future or give them more clarity as to what the future holds. Unfortunately, however, not all psychics are legitimate. And it’s those illegitimate “psychics” that have been responsible for some high dollar scams. Let’s take a look at five unbelievable psychic scams that have been revealed over the years.
Call Miss Cleo
In the 1990s, ads for Miss Cleo speaking for the Psychic Readers Network hotline were all over the place. It advertised and 800 number for “free” readings with clips of Miss Cleo giving “psychic” advice to those calling in. Millions of people actually did call into the hotline; however, the calls were anything but free. Some callers found themselves being charged over three hundred dollars for a single call! And the callers definitely weren’t calling into Miss Cleo, as the hotline’s spokesperson was actually and actress and playwright from Los Angeles. The owners of the Psychic Readers Network were forced to forgive $500 million in phone charges and were fined five million by the FTC.
The Scamming of Ralph Raines Jr.
This scam involved Ralph Raines, Jr., a wealthy heir to a tree farm fortune in Oregon and a fake psychic by the name of Rachel Lee. Lee sunk her hooks into Raines when he went to her storefront psychic shop in Bend, Oregon. Upon revealing that he desired to be married and have a family, Lee soon burrowed herself into his life for the following ten years. She even managed to gain control of the Raines family assets. Her crimes eventually caught up to her, and she received an eight-year prison sentence.
Times Square Storefront Scam
A British internet entrepreneur by the name of Naill Rice was scammed out of nearly $550,000 by Priscilla Kelly Delamaro, who ran a psychic shop in New York’s Times Square. The fake psychic took advantage of Delamaro’s unrequited love heartbreak, by continually leading him on with advice and promises of being reunited with the woman he’d been heartbroken over. Delamaro was sentenced to eight months in jail and four years of probation for grand larceny.
Ask Billy Scam
When hedge fund manager Seth Tobias died unexpectedly in 2007, the battle for his estate would also unexpectedly involve a fake internet psychic. Internet “psychic” Billy Ash was a psychic advisor to Tobias’ current wife, Filomena. He claimed to be Tobias’ assistant and made up a story that Filomena had planned to kill Tobias and get the estate money. Ash used information he’d gotten from their sessions to use against her. However, the scam didn’t work, as Filomena was cleared of all charges with the estate case being settled out of court.
Rose Marks Scam
An often-used scam for fake psychics is the promise of removing a curse or bad luck. And that’s exactly what Rose Marks did to the people she scammed. She targeted those who were the most vulnerable and convinced them to turn over millions of dollars to her in order to remove supposed curses and bad luck vibes. She was good at listening to people’s problems and used her endearing listening skills to make clients believe as though she really could get their lives back on track through more and more payments. Eventually, she was convicted of fraud though, and was sentenced to ten years in federal prison.