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9 Tips to Spot Fake Online Tarot Readers

Updated on September 22, 2014

The Internet is a wonderful source of information but with the incredible availability of information and services also come the downside of potential scam artists and fakes. Being a reader myself, I know how difficult it can be to distinguish oneself from the crowd, but it’s a fact that for every genuine reader out there, there’s at least one more trying to pass as a genuine Tarot reader in order to make a quick buck from unsuspecting people. Below I’ll walk you through some of the red flags you should be alert for when dealing with an online Tarot reader and what you can do to assure you’re dealing with someone genuine.


Cookie-Cutter Email Readings

This is one of the very first signs of a fake or phony Tarot reader, and it’s something you should be on the alert for when ordering email or chat readings. If the information you receive reads like a sales page, or a rewritten online horoscope, it most likely is.

I’ve seen this first hand where a reader offers a service and they’ll use the exact same template but just change a few facts here and there. See the examples below:

Example 1:

Hello Jane,

I see conception for you late in July 2013 and you’ll have a difficult pregnancy. You’ll give birth to a son, around whom I get the initial A. You’ll have symptoms such as heartburn, insomnia, and cramps during the pregnancy. The birth will be easier than expected. I do not see a C section.

Example 2:

Hello Emily,

I see conception for you in February 2015 and you’ll have a very easy pregnancy. You’ll give birth to twins, around whom I get the initials T. You’ll have symptoms such as sinus, lack of appetite, and morning sickness during the pregnancy. The birth will be difficult. I do not see a natural birth.

These templates can be rewritten or spun using content software to give hundreds of ‘unique’ readings when in fact it’s all garbage and could have been written by just about anyone. I have come across instances online where clients have searched for copies of their readings online and even found exact matches down to the date of conception, the sex of the baby etc.

The fertility reading is just one of many examples of how this technique can be used by fakes to make it seem as if you’ve just had a real Tarot reading.


Rewritten Horoscopes

When a fake uses this technique he or she will insist on your or your partner’s date of birth so that they can research it online and find a horoscope to copy or rewrite. This is one of the more sneaky ways to fake an email reading, and if you receive something that sounds like it came from one of the horoscope columns from one of your women’s mags, that’s probably exactly what it is.

Always look for vague references about things you’ve not asked about, or an inability to answer the question you did ask. An email reading should be direct and to the point, and should answer the question you asked with some additional detail or background information.

Some readers do ask for dates of birth in order to verify their clients’ ages or to be able to use astrology in combination with the Tarot, so someone asking for your date of birth isn’t automatically a sign of a fake, but it does make it easier for someone who doesn’t know the first thing about Tarot to find information to sell to you.


Dealing All the Cards in The Deck

Many individuals who pose as Tarot Readers will start laying out cards and continue to do so until the table in front of them is littered with cards. This is not the way it should be done and any professional reader will not use the cards in that way.

A fake will not be able to clearly explain or interpret the cards and you may find that he or she uses vague statements to describe each card. One of the ways this can be seen very clearly is to see him or her lay out one card after another making very vague statements to see if something he or she says hits the mark. Once you respond, the reader will then focus on that and expand on it or elaborate on it using more cards and the ‘hit or miss’ technique.


Curses, Negative Energy, or Curse Removal

Someone who fakes being a true Tarot reader, psychic, or medium often takes the route of extremely dire predictions and will often tell a client that they have a curse on them, negative energy, or some sort of spell that needs to be removed. When this happens, they expect to worry the client to the point where he or she will automatically panic and then need one of the more expensive services to ‘clear’ this horrible energy or curse.

Truth is that negative energy does exist, but any reputable Tarot reader will tell you that you need protection and then offer you advice on how to do it yourself. Crystals, sage, and simple spiritual practices such as grounding and shielding can be very useful in clearing negative energy and offering protection, so you should never have to pay exorbitant amounts to have someone else clear a curse or ‘negative energy’ around you.

Free Readings

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‘Free’ Readings

There are a number of sites offering a free report or reading to new visitors but what this really is is a ploy to get the user to pay for a curse removal or spell work. These sites are geared towards one thing, marketing and money making. The image and name of the psychic/astrology/Tarot reader they use is almost always fake and they will ask for your information such as first name, last name, date of birth, email address. Once you’ve filled out the form, you’ll receive an immediate report or worse, you’ll be sent to an existing webpage to read your report or reading. All this is is a landing page or a ‘squeeze page’ to lead you to the ‘buy now’ button.

The information is completely generic and may speak of impending danger or that you need to be aware of this or that but that the reader has to do very time intensive rituals to prevent this dangerous event from occurring.

The main aim of these ‘free readings’ is to either scare you into believing that some inevitable event ahead is going to destroy your life, unless you pay them to change it for you with their mystical rituals, or that you have a curse or psychic ‘scar’ that has to be healed. All this brings us back to the idea of curse removal or to get a foot in the door so they can scare someone senseless.

I once had someone book an appointment with me and when she got on the line she was absolutely frantic. She was told in one of these ‘free reports’ that she has a terrible curse on her and she didn’t have the money to pay this other site to remove it for her. I was able to tell her exactly what the idea was behind her ‘reading’ and that she had fallen victim to a company that makes them money scaring people half to death so they can get hold of their money. Luckily she had come to me instead of paying that particular site the enormous amount of money they asked for.

If you’re ever tempted to obtain a free report, keep an open mind and as soon as there’s a mention of negative energy, psychic scars, psychic moles, or future events that need to be averted through spellwork, run for the hills.

If you are going to try and get a free reading, be sure to use a professional reader and to enter a competition or a giveaway via a reputable site. May professional Tarot readers give away readings as a way to get more exposure for their services or to build their email lists. This is the safest way to go if you're looking for a genuine reading free of charge.

Insensitivity and Dire Predictions

A genuine reader will always take the time to guide, assist and reassure the client. Fakes will often go for the most dire prediction possible and interpret the cards in a very literal way. For example, the chariot and death cards in combination may cause a fake to predict a car crash and to tell the client that he or she is going to die soon. A reputable and ethical reader never predicts death, or tells someone they or someone they love are going to die.

People who pretend to read the Tarot or pretend to be psychic can also be particularly insensitive and sometimes downright nasty in their delivery of a ‘reading’. Remember that information from Spirit is always gentle, and always delivered in a way that is encouraging and empowering even if it’s bad news.

Professional and ethical Tarot readers (or all lightworkers for that matter) have a good bedside manner, and are always sensitive in how they deliver truth. The idea is to be as truthful as possible while being as gentle, considerate, and non judgmental as possible.


Claiming 100% Accuracy

Scam artists will often claim to have a 100% accuracy rate, mainly to lure in clients. They state that their predictions always come true and that they can even Make things occur. This is just one of the many red flags that should tell a prospective client they are dealing with someone unethical.

A real Tarot reader cannot make things happen, they cannot force a lover to return, or reunite you with someone, or make 100% accuracy claims. The Tarot never lies, but human error is always a possibility and the reader may interpret something differently to how it’s actually meant. As for outcomes, those are not written in stone and a reputable reader will always advise the client accordingly. Free will is an amazing thing and allows us to shape our paths as and when needed, the trick is being aware of the current influences and energies so we can act accordingly.

Using Textbooks or Guides

This is another dead giveaway. If the reader you’re speaking to is turning pages in a book in order to do your reading, opt for someone else. If you’re on the phone, you may be able to hear pages turning in the background as this is often how inexperienced readers fool clients.

Many years ago I was a member on a WAH forum and one poster started a thread about phone tarot readings. Someone actually mentioned a book that can be used to explain or interpret tarot cards and what this particular person did was to open the book at a random page whenever the phone rang. She would then read out the description and answer the client’s questions using that card’s definition.

Technically, one could say that Spirit influences the page that pops up, but this is not a true Tarot reading and can never give a client the full scope they would have if they were consulting with an experienced and professional reader.


Drinking Before a Reading

Anyone who practices Tarot reading seriously, will never drink or take mind altering substances before a reading. Many fake readers will indulge in a glass or two of alcohol before a reading to calm their nerves, but should you smell alcohol on a reader’s breath or should he or she seem or sound intoxicated, it’s best to stay away and choose another reader.

Many online tarot sites also have video chat rooms, and as a reader myself, I often check out the feeds to see who is online. I’m sad to say that I’ve seen intoxicated readers working online chat rooms too and these feeds were being shared all over the Internet.

This is just another sign that the person you’re speaking to does not take the trade or the Tarot seriously, which in turn means that you as a client won’t be taken seriously either.


Researching a Tarot Reader

When you’re in need of assistance, always take the time to research the reader you’re interested in. If it’s on a psychic site, always check the hiring policy to see whether the readers are tested prior to being accepted to the site. The downside to psychic networks is that many readers use fake names to steer network clients away from their personal sites, or even worse, they may not have a professional site at all or even work under their real name. A Tarot reader who refuses to use their real name, may be someone who has something to hide. Aliases are a dime a dozen and makes it nearly impossible to research a reader thoroughly.

Alternatively, use a psychic directory to get access to some of the best Tarot readers and psychics on the Internet, but again, check the screening process to assure that each reader is tested and or verified before becoming a member. The stricter the acceptance policies, the higher the quality of the readers, and you’ll have access to a wide variety of professionals on a single site.

Once you have a reader in mind, try to visit his or her professional website and look into their professional history. The older the site, the more client reviews (both on the site itself and on the Internet) the better. Having a reader’s real name also enables you to search for them on the Net. If you find videos with sample readings, online articles, and a strong professional online presence, you know you’re on the right track.

Fake readers will not leave a trail and will most often not take the time to set up professional web sites, so they may not have a domain name of their own, or may not even set up a website at all. A fake will have to create multiple profiles, so they are most likely to work sites where they pay a fee to sign up and create a new profile every time they get too many negative reviews.


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    • Emeraldgreen21 profile image

      Atell Rohlandt 3 years ago from South Africa

      Hello Lionrhod, thanks for your comment and taking the time to share a little info about yourself. Many readers use numerology or astrological based insights in their readings, but you are right, focusing solely on someone's sun sign can give a very narrow view of all the influences around that person at the time. I, personally, do not offer astrological readings or do charts, my focus is purely on using either my own intuitive/psychic abilities and the Tarot. I think there are as many different reading styles as there are readers, but it's unfortunate that a lot of the information that can be used legitimately to obtain insight into someone's life or situation can also be misused by fraudsters and scam artists. I understand that many readers steer away from using their real names, and as with yourself, a pagan name may have more meaning, but doesn't necessarily lend credibility in and of itself - and makes a reader much harder to research. I understand concerns regarding privacy etc, especially with the advances in modern technology, but as a client, I'd much rather seek out advice from someone who I am able to research properly and address by a proper name. I suppose it's one of many preferences and to each their own.

    • Lionrhod profile image

      Lionrhod 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Excellent article. As a psychic new to HP (just moved over from Squidoo) I'm checking out psychic articles here. Yours is one of the better ones on this subject. I agree with those who say some readers will use numerology or astrology information in a legitimate way. Personally, I don't unless I am specifically doing that kind of reading. (I don't have a cell ap to let me look at someone's chart - I don't even know how to work a smartphone, so it's rare for me to do astrology readings for the public unless I have their chart info in advance. ) The problem with sun-sign astrology is that there are actually 10 planets that influence a person's chart, and asking for just the sun sign doesn't IMO give meaningful nuances. I will (somewhat) disagree with you regarding "real names." I've been using my professional name (the same one as on my post) for somewhere near 2 decades. It started as a pen name for metaphysical subjects, and became what everyone called me. It is my "open" pagan name (Some witches have secret names known to only a select few.) and has deep religious/spiritual significance to me. It's even what my husband calls me. About the only people who use my birth name are my birth family. So some of us do have reasons for going by our various monikers.

    • Emeraldgreen21 profile image

      Atell Rohlandt 3 years ago from South Africa

      We're in complete agreement there. I'm not familiar with the Sephira, but I understand what you're saying about numerology working with the numbers on the cards themselves. I wrote a hub a while back about common myths and misconceptions about tarot readers and went into the same sort of topic with fortunetelling versus actual divination or tarot reading.

    • profile image

      Deborah Sexton 3 years ago

      Numerology, The Tarot, And the Paths and Sephira on the Tree of Life, all correspond. Finding where the person's numbers fall in the Tarot card reading, gives great insight. Each card has a number, so does the Sephira on the Tree of Life.

      I know that we have free will and we can only tell the person "this is the way things are headed unless you want to change things"

      A fraud becomes a fortune Teller because they say this IS the way things WILL BE. Then as you said, they begin to sell people their products and services through instilling fear into them.

    • Emeraldgreen21 profile image

      Atell Rohlandt 3 years ago from South Africa

      I've dabbled a little with numerology and knowing someone's numbers does help give additional insight into why they do things. It's not something I use in addition to the Tarot but I know many advisors do. Intuition and the Tarot go together so well, I developed mine that way many years ago. The Tarot 'opened' up everything else so to speak. As for predictions, that's another interesting topic and I think I'll do a hub on it. Prediction accuracy is not something you can use to judge someone's authenticity, purely because individuals have free will and not all readers are pre-cognizant (that's another common misconception). Not all psychic or intuitive gifts focus on the future. The best way to ascertain the quality of your reader is to see how well he or she connects to either your past or present, because that will give you immediate validation and show you whether they are truly connected or just taking stabs in the dark.

    • profile image

      Deborah Sexton 3 years ago

      Yes, you are correct about the frauds, and there are many of them.

      I do tarot readings along with their numerology. It helps me to connect better with them and using numerology I can know more about the character of the person getting the reading. This helps me to understand why certain things, such as their love life, is so elusive. I also use my intuition.

      Thank goodness that at least in time a person will know if the reader is real, or fake by the success or failure of the predictions.

      I think your hub is a great guide for a person to recognize a fake before he falls prey to one. Great hub

    • Emeraldgreen21 profile image

      Atell Rohlandt 3 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks for your comment Deborah; that is correct. It's important to remember that numerology (while it can be very accurate), and tarot are very different reading types. A tarot reader does not need someone's date of birth, UNLESS he or she uses numerology or astrology as part of the reading. The date of birth information is important (and I included it) because some scammers take that information to formulate fake readings based on published and readily-available horoscopes.

    • profile image

      Deborah Sexton 3 years ago

      When a person does Numerology readings, which is pretty accurate, they will ask for your birthday. Without this information no reading can be done.

      Interesting hub.