One question I’ve been asked often — and that I’m sure a lot of other tarot readers can relate to — is whether tarot reading is “real”. Of course, part of people’s intent behind asking that is to find out if they can find a “true” tarot reader who can give them the answers they want. The answer to that depends on the reader you ask. Some believe in the predictive powers of tarot, some don’t. Personally, I believe it doesn’t, but regardless of the beliefs of a tarot reader, not all tarot readers are out to scam you with “fake” readings.
To some people, the idea of a non-predictive reading is automatically fake and therefore a scam. But it doesn’t have to be that way especially if a reader is clear about what they can and won’t do for you. What makes a tarot reading a scam is if a tarot reader starts luring you in with false promises and upselling you on additional services and products even if you feel like you don’t need them. Sure, many professional tarot readers will make the offer, but they won’t scare you into making a purchase the way scammers do.
I’ve been in several tarot reading communities where professional readers and “casual” readers alike gather to share their insights on readings. Even in these places, there are tons of scammers that contact members to tell them they can use their psychic powers to work miracles for $X!
So, if you’re wondering whether a tarot reader is scamming you, here are some tell-tale signs that you’re being punked.
4 Signs a Tarot Reader Is Scamming You
1. The tarot reader promises to lift a curse for you
This is the most common scare tactic used by tarot reading scammers to get you to buy your services. You might see a spam message on your socials or in your email inbox with a scary header that says you’ve been cursed or that there’s “dark energy” surrounding you. It’s usually something along those lines. Other variations of this will play on your FOMO by telling you that there’s a big cosmic opportunity that’s coming for you — but you’ll only have it in the bag if you contact them ASAP.
Scammers change their tactics whenever the public starts to catch on so if you’re reading this years after it was published, maybe they’ve already changed their script. But no matter what they say, pay attention to any attempts to play on your emotions and make you act within an arbitrary time limit. Scammers do this to override your ability to make a clear, sound decision by rushing you into things.
2. The tarot reader tries to sell you cleansing and amulets
Tarot scammers will also try to sell you products and services that will supposedly clear away bad spirits, negative energy, your dog’s fart smells, etc. Alternatively, they may try to sell you charms that bring you good luck. Either way, if you’re getting pushed into buying cleansing rituals and trinkets, you’re being scammed.
Some variations of tarot reading scam involve the scammers giving you a free reading with the extra trinket or service being forced on you after. If you’re considering buying an outrageously priced item or “ritual” from them because they already gave you something for free, you might want to turn that down.
3. The tarot reader keeps bugging you to buy more readings
Generally, tarot readings are only done when a querent (that’s the person who wants a reading) decides they need a reading. Not even professional readers who make a living doing tarot reading will pester you into getting more readings. The occasional marketing email that serves to remind previous clients they exist will come around once in a while, but you’re not going to get repeated messages specifically telling you that you need more readings.
4. The tarot reader says they can change your fate
As I mentioned earlier, tarot readers have different views on the tarot and have differing practices. That said, the one thing a tarot reader won’t tell you is that they can change your fate. No tarot reader can do that even if they believe that the cards are predictive and no tarot reader will tell you they can give you a better outcome for $X.
Some tarot scammers know that big promises set off alarm bells in people’s heads so they might try to give you a smaller, more reasonable-sounding promise. Maybe instead of making you win the lottery, they say that they can help you get a promotion. The same promise of more money is there, but one of them seems more realistic.
But is it really?
Think about it. The tarot scammer is still promising to change the future for you. If a tarot reader could change fate, they wouldn’t be wasting time doing readings for you. They’d have given themselves a better destiny ages ago.
Where to Find Legitimate Tarot Readings
It can be disappointing to realize that a tarot reader is trying to scam you or, worse, already has. Don’t let that color the way you see tarot and other tarot readers. A lot of readers are genuinely lovely people who are more than happy to help you find clarity.
If you’re looking to get a tarot reading but don’t want to pay for tarot readings for fear of being scammed, you can try visiting online tarot communities. There are tons of resources in tarot communities that are meant to help you get started reading tarot. One of those resources are free readings. Some readers, especially beginners, will offer free readings so they can practice their tarot reading skills with another person. And don’t scoff just because the tarot readers are beginners! Tarot is great for introspection and an outside perspective can be the catalyst for a breakthrough insight.
You can also try reading tarot cards for yourself. You might think you need to have some sort of psychic touch to be able to use the tarot in any meaningful way, but you really don’t. You don’t even have to believe that tarot cards are magical. As long as you learn the basics of tarot symbolism and have access to an easy-to-read tarot deck, you can start doing tarot readings for yourself.