The Hidden World of Psychic Scams, Part 1

Debra is a divorced mother and ballroom dancer who travels between her home in Florida and New York to train with her dance partner. When Debra loses her part-time job in New York and boyfriend in the same day, she’s distraught. Without the extra income from her job and a place to stay from her boyfriend, Debra knows she’ll have to quit ballroom dancing — even though she and her partner have been climbing the ranks on the Pro-Am circuit. Walking in Greenwich Village, Debra sees a psychic shop she often passes. Today it catches her eye. She is searching for answers and decides to stop in. The shop is well- appointed with lavish decor and plaques that show additional locations in glamorous cities around the world. Sylvia, the psychic who comes to give Debra a reading, is dressed to the nines — like many professionals you would see in New York. After the initial reading, Sylvia says she can help Debra but that she’ll need to come back for a deep reading. When Debra returns for the two-hour deep reading, Sylvia determines that Debra has trust issues, particularly when it involves money. Seeking closure and desperate for a solution to her problems, Debra starts to believe and trust Sylvia. The psychic tells Debra to write her a check for $28,000 and promises she will hold on to it for one day. When she returns the check, Sylvia tells Debra that her money and trust issues will be solved. Debra follows Sylvia’s instructions and gets the money for the check from a home equity loan. However, as soon as she hands the check over, Debra realizes she has made a terrible mistake.

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