Beware of Hot and Cold Reading Scams
Many so-called psychics are frauds. But so are some auto mechanics, lenders and roofers. There’s fraud in just about all lines of work.
What we do know is this: There’s not enough evidence to refute paranormal phenomena. Nor enough to prove it beyond a doubt.
And we also know this: There exist scams involving hot and cold readings.
I could give a scam reading to a flamboyant, colorfully-dressed woman (whom I’ve known for only a minute) with big hair, lots of costume jewelry and a supersonic laugh.
I could tell her she’s attracted to quiet, analytical, detail-oriented, very serious men whose eyes well up during sappy movies. She’ll pay me $100 for my “reading” and think I’m a psychic. What she doesn’t know is that I know that people with “sanguine” temperaments are attracted to the “melancholy” temperament.
I didn’t “read” her based on psychic abilities. I “read” her based on a book about temperaments I read years ago. Some people get really good at cold readings and make money off of this.
You have an appointment with a woman. You find her Facebook page (because you got enough preliminary information to achieve this). You learn all about her. You look her up on LinkedIn too.
Come appointment (reading) time, you start telling her things about herself, flooring her. Scammers can cunningly extract information via other routes as well, but the bottom line is that the crook gets information ahead of time and pretends it’s only just coming up during the reading.
The information is gleaned right on the spot—via skilled observational powers. Typically the cold-reader begins broadly, such as, “You’re very sad these days,” watching the customer’s body language and facial reactions, and then making deductions based on those.
The reading is very carefully worded to cover the possibility that the deductions are wrong. The scammer might say, “A person very dear to you is no longer around,” instead of the specific, “A person very dear to you has recently died.” All possible reasons for the “loss” are covered with the ambiguous statement.
Cold readings to a large group are a joke, because the scammer will announce something that, by the law of averages, will apply to several people in the group. He then narrows it down from there.
There may be many honest, true psychics out there (some police departments use them for missing-persons cases believing if there wasn’t some fire to this smoke).
But beware of the scammers. Don’t pay someone to tell you something about your life that’s already on Facebook or evident in your clothing and mannerisms.
Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing identity theft prevention.