Think Before Opening a Psychic Message

Think Before Opening a Psychic Message

Fortune-telling fraud has been around for over a century, but it’s quite hard to pinpoint them as it regularly reappears in a new guise, even in this day and age.

Since July this year, the 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. Unfortunately, in the first half of 2015, no such reports came 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 end up paying for it without realizing it soon enough. Of course, some would use a fake chat conversation to entice them to get their services, so doing research will do wonders as opposed to just clicking without thinking about a link.

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 tellers 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.

Your data will be added to an email file, enabling 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 psychic scams fall into a lighter, less irritating category of (usually) unwanted emails. Nevertheless, 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 previously warned about this type of fraud.

It can be tough to determine whether something is a legitimate offer or not when it comes to psychic readings, but err on the side of caution when you receive an email unsolicited. If a link is present, do not click it unless your computer is well protected. If you have already made the mistake, then report the fraud to the proper authorities. Understand that most psychics will not ask for deeply personal data, so do not offer it to anyone you do not fully know and trust.