Since July this year, Fraud Help Desk has received dozens of reports about psychic or clairvoyant fraudsters. Women with names like Mona Luisa and Laetizia offer you wise counsel absolutely free of charge. In the first half of 2015, no such reports came in to Fraud Help Desk.
Fake chat conversation
The scam emails come in several forms, with a variety of fortune tellers and even tarot cards. Those who click on the link given in the message, always seem to end up in a fake chat conversation and ends up paying for it without them realizing it faster. Some would use a fake chat conversation to entice in getting their services as well so doing research will make wonders than just clicking without thinking well.
What is behind all this?
Of course, the purpose of these emails is not to predict your future. This will be clear as soon as you start the chat. The only things these fortune teller are after are your personal data.
They are not phishers, trying to plunder your bank account. They just want you to fill out an online form with your email address, date of birth, gender and name.
The data you provide will be added to an email file, which will enable businesses to bombard you with targeted advertising. That explains why you must tick the option “I wish to receive offers from Psychic _______’s partners”.
By ticking this option, you are accepting a so-called opt-in. Who these partners are and how often you can expect such ‘offers’ remains unclear.
Warning from UK fraud watchdog
Unsolicited email advertising can be very annoying, but these physic scams fall into a lighter, less irritating category of (usually) unwanted mails. They often have the same characteristics as advance-fee fraud.
On previous occasions, self-declared clairvoyants sent out emails to large groups of people predicting that something very important was about to happen. In some cases, they disclosed the number of a winning lottery ticket. To get the whole story, recipients were told to pay upfront. In the end, the victims remained empty-handed. The UK fraud watchdog, Action UK, has warned about this type of fraud in the past.