Skip to content
 

Beware of the Boardwalk Psychic Scam

A psychic reading with a fortune teller in Atlantic City leaves one woman nearly broke

Graphic illustration of a fortune teller scam

AARP

Subscribe:   Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

Maurine is enjoying the Atlantic City boardwalk with a friend when a young woman approaches her. The woman introduces herself as Savannah and offers to give Maurine a psychic reading. Figuring it will cost her just a few dollars, Maurine takes her up on the offer. Savannah takes Maurine back to her shop. During the reading she picks up on many of the troubles Maurine is facing in her personal life. Having gained Maurine’s trust, Savannah offers her various items for sale in the shop, promising that they will solve her problems. Maurine chooses a few things within her budget to purchase and starts to leave. But Savannah’s not done with her yet. She gives Maurine her phone number with an offer to continue to help her. It all seems innocent to Maurine, but this chance encounter with a boardwalk psychic will morph into a long, complex relationship that will leave her nearly broke.

Quote illustration graphic for episode 53 of The Perfect Scam

TIPS:  If you think you’ve been a victim of a scam or would like to report fraud call The Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 877-908-3360Anyone can become the victim of a scam, it’s important to be vigilant and know your vulnerabilities. For instance, if you are looking for a job you are more vulnerable to a work-at-home scam.

(MUSIC SEGUE)

[00:00:00] Julie: This week on AARP's The Perfect Scam.

[00:00:03] She says to me, you know would you like a quote unquote reading? And I says, "Okay." She would say, "You have a negativity about you, and we can help you get rid of the negativity." I said, "Okay." She seemed to be honest. She had a very nice way about her. It's frustrating because these people, they're getting away with the, I'm not going to say murder, but it's not right. It's not right what they've done.

(MUSIC SEGUE)

[00:00:26] Julie: Hello, and welcome back to The Perfect Scam. I'm Julie Getz and with me today is Fraud Watch Network Ambassador, Frank Abagnale. How are you doing today, Frank?

[00:00:34] Frank Abagnale: It's great to be here, thanks for having me.

[00:00:36] Julie: Today we're going to discuss psychic scams. The unscrupulous men and women who run these scams, luring people in and their wallets by claiming to have special psychic powers and promising to use those powers to help improve one's life. The psychic scam is an old one, but today business is booming. According to one market analysis, there are nearly 95,000 psychic businesses in the US generating some 2 billion dollars in revenue in 2018. Frank, how do these psychic businesses continue to operate?

[00:01:07] Frank Abagnale: Some people really believe in psychics, and so, at some point, again, I would always say to people; if I went to see a psychic, no matter how much I thought they helped me, I'm happy to pay their fee for whatever time I spent with them, but the minute they would start saying to me that I ought to buy them this or spend money, give them money for something, or get involved in some investment with them or something that's going to make me a lot of money, that's where that red flag would come up for me. You had a great episode last time about the woman who was told by the psychic that she doesn't trust people very well, and she said to her, "Why don't you get me a cashier's check from your bank for this amount of money, and bring it back to me, and let me hold it and see if you trust me to keep it safe?" She actually had to take a lien out on her property to get the money, she brought back the cashier's check, and the woman took it and spent it. The problem is, when you go to try to convict someone like that, she literally said, give me the check, and the woman went and got the check, so it was very hard to get fraud involved because she, on her own will, handed her the check. So a lot of these psychics know all the little games and all that to keep themselves from being down the road prosecuted by someone or sued by somebody. But, as you said their, their absolutely been around forever.

[00:02:23] Julie: So although there's many people who trust and believe in psychics, which explains why business is thriving, our listeners should still be very mindful of the folks who are running psychic scams, and just be ready to recognize warning signs.

[00:02:34] Frank Abagnale: Yes.

[00:02:35] Julie: Well, Frank, this week you're going to meet Marlene, a retired administrative assistant who's trusting nature and everyday worries leave her vulnerable to the overtures of a pretty young woman who promises her to get rid of the negativity in her life. Marlene isn't the first to fall victim to a psychic scam, and unfortunately, she probably won't be the last.

(MUSIC SEGUE)

[00:03:00] Julie: In 2015, Marlene and one of her oldest girlfriends take a road trip from their homes in Younkers, New York, to the Atlantic City Boardwalk. They're excited for a night out and have plans for dinner and a show.

[00:03:12] Marlene Alange: We just wanted to see the sites and you know the boardwalk was so beautiful and your typical tourist type of thing. And um, and really, we're enjoying ourselves because, you know, just the scenery is gorgeous. We were just you know walking on the boardwalk minding our own business, and this lovely, I have to say, sweet young girl, she approached, and she says to me, you know, would you like a quote unquote reading? And I says, "Okay," 'cause I'd gone before to other people. I says, "Okay," because I figured well you know, okay, they'll give you, they'll charge you a couple of dollars and that'll be the end of that.

[00:03:41] Julie: Marlene and her friend followed the young woman to her shop. While her friends waits comfortably in a chair outside, Marlene follows the young girl in.

(sound of shop door)

[00:03:53] Marlene Alange: It was a nice looking place, you know, light and very pretty. There was a lot of um, good luck charms hanging around or incense and stuff like that. All over the place.

[00:04:03] Julie: The young woman introduces herself as Savannah and invites Marlene to sit down. Savannah closes her eyes and begins their reading.

[00:04:12] Marlene Alange: She'll say that something's going on, uh I feel that uh, there's going to be trouble, or um, you're having trouble with your husband, which I was. My husband um, I mean verbally, verbally he was very abusive. Everything was negative, nothing was positive, I guess she could pick up the hell that I was living with.

[00:04:31] Julie: So she picked up on something that you were going through at home? That must have gotten your attention. So what else did she say?

[00:04:37] Marlene Alange: She would say you have a negativity about you and that's not good. You know, we could help you get rid of the negativity. I said, "Okay," and then she said something about, I'll give you these cards, like to pray on and like a creams and stuff like that, you know, to keep evil away, and then she says this thing will be like $125. I says, "Okay." You know, that's no big, no big deal. I didn't feel uncomfortable or, she seemed to be honest. She seemed to be very nice.

[00:05:03] Julie: What happened after you gave her the money? How did you guys stay in touch?

[00:05:06] Marlene Alange: Well she says to me, "You know, if you want to continue, I could help you." And I says, "Well, okay." She goes "and here's my phone number." And of course, you know, I took the phone number, and uh that's what started it.

[00:05:17] Julie: A few days later, after the trip to Atlantic City, things between Marlene and her husband are not going well. She digs out Savannah's number and calls her.

[00:05:26] Marlene Alange: Well I was hoping that maybe she could bring some quote unquote good luck.

[00:05:32] Julie: Once again, it's almost like Savannah knows what's on Marlene's mind. Without Marlene having to say a thing.

[00:05:38] Marlene Alange: I had a brother that committed suicide, he was always on my mind, you know, and um, and she came up with it. I didn't even say anything about my brother. She is the one that said, you know, you had a brother and we could take his soul, quote unquote soul and we put it out in the ocean, but it's going to cost a couple of thousand dollars.

[00:05:55] Julie: Two thousand dollars is a lot of money. But Savannah convinces Marlene that it's a reasonable investment for permanent peace of mind.

[00:06:02] Marlene Alange: And of course, I believed it, so I used a credit card and I gave her the money.

[00:06:07] Julie: So that was your first call with Savannah. It sounds like the relationship developed pretty quickly after that?

[00:06:12] Marlene Alange: I thought she was my best friend, 'cause we would be talking on the phone a hundred times a day. She had a personality that's like, forget it. I mean you would love her. She was the sweetest, nicest, uh you know, young girl, you know, and um, that, that's probably why I like her because of her personality. Like we would be talking almost every day. Seriously. I thought she was my buddy.

[00:06:32] Julie: We all need someone to talk to. And Savannah seemed to want only the best for Marlene. She was always willing to use her skills as a psychic to help.

[00:06:42] Marlene Alange: She would say to me, "Oh no, look there's, there's such a cloud over your future," and "something bad's going to happen," and "you've got to give me $300" to keep the quote unquote negativity away from me. I would give it to her, 'cause I now actually believed she would help get this negativity away from me.

[00:06:59] Julie: $300. $500. Almost every time they talk on the phone, Savannah asks for money, and chides Marlene if she asked too many questions about what the money is for.

[00:07:10] Marlene Alange: And she would say, "Now, I didn't know, you were positive, now all of a sudden you're negative, negative, negative. You're full of negativity and I don't want you to have it."
She would say, "I've got to take, I need money to go and get sage" to keep the quote unquote negativity away from me. And I believed it.

[00:07:27] Julie: After they had been talking almost a year and a half, Savannah ups the stakes making her biggest ask of Marlene yet.

[00:07:33] Marlene Alange: She says to me, "Oh, could you get me two Rolex watches?" And I went, "What?" "Yeah, that's going to help," you know, the negativity and just, you know, and all this kind of business. I went and I got her two Rolex watches.

[00:07:46] Julie: These high end luxury watches come with a hefty price tag of more than $25,000 each.

[00:07:52] Julie: Marlene, tell me, what's running through your mind as you're driving down to the Rolex store?

[00:07:57] Marlene Alange: I'm going to myself, well I guess that she needs it, you know, I'm trying, and I'm back thinking negative, 'cause, you know, 'cause she says, oh that instance she says, yeah, she did say to me I'll get it back. That's when I says to myself, oh well, you know, I'll get the money back. I'll get it back, and of course, I didn't, and I believed it.

[00:08:11] Julie: The Rolex store is in Scarsdale, New York. It's just a 20 minute ride from Younkers, but an entirely different world.

[00:08:19] Marlene Alange: And they treat the watches like their babies. They don't even touch them with their hands. They use rags or something like that, and then they put it in the box. And I walked out of the store and I, I came home, and I called her up and I said, "I've got them." So of course, you know, you can't exactly send her watches like that by mail (chuckle), so she says to me, I says, "You know, maybe you could meet me," you know, nearby, and they did.

[00:08:46] Julie: The rendezvous spot is the CVS parking lot. Marlene pulls up, gets out, and waits. Soon, Savannah arrives with another young woman.

[00:08:56] Marlene Alange: After saw the bag that I had in my hand, so I says, "Here, I have, you know, the watches." And she says, "Thank you so much." And I gave them the watches.

[00:09:05] Julie: Marlene, how did you feel on the ride home? You just handed over such an expensive gift to this girl.

[00:09:11] Marlene Alange: Well, at this point my, my, my head was like this blank, you know, I'm saying, well, I mean, she was very nice, and I said, "Well," you know, "I hope that it works. I hope that it helps me, you know."

[00:09:20] Julie: For a while, Marlene puts the Rolexes out of her mind. But when her credit card bill comes the next month, she begins to have second thoughts about giving the watches to Savannah.

[00:09:31] Marlene Alange: To be honest with you, I didn't realize how many thousands of dollars they were. I says to her, "Can I get the, the watches back?" You know, and she says to me, "No, no, no, there's evil on it, you can't get it back.

[00:09:42] Julie: Did you tell anyone what was going on, like friends or family? You must have been getting pretty worried.

[00:09:47] Marlene Alange: I never mentioned about me going, you know, to or talking to a psychic. And I start talking about a psychic, a lot of people that you're a psycho yourself.

[00:09:55] Julie: It sounds like after you gave her the Rolexes, you began to suspect the worst. Did you confront Savannah to see what she'd say?

[00:10:02] Marlene Alange: Well, after a while I was so disgusted because I was trying to get her, and I couldn't get her. And a few times her mother got on the phone. And um, she would say to me, uh she's not around, she's busy, and then finally I called her, and she says to me, "She's gone." I'm like, "What do you mean she's gone?" You know, now I didn't know if she died, 'cause she's a young girl. And that was the end of it. That was the end of it. Never heard from her at all.

[00:10:29] Julie: Marlene, I'm curious, what did your husband say about your relationship with Savannah?

[00:10:33] Marlene Alange: My husband died 2½ years ago. He doesn't know. I never told him. I never told him, no.

[00:10:39] Julie: And did this situation with Savannah affect your relationship with other people in your life?

[00:10:43] Marlene Alange: My daughter's pissed off at me because of that. I told my son, and he's I'm out of my mind. I told some girlfriends, and they were going, "What did you do that for? You're wrong."

[00:10:52] Julie: How much money in total did you end up giving her?

[00:10:55] Marlene Alange: You're going to die. Three hundred and something thousand dollars.

[00:10:58] Julie: So you emptied out your retirement savings account?

[00:10:41] Marlene Alange: I guess you call that, yeah.

[00:11:03] Julie: Okay. A savings account that you had.

[00:11:04] Marlene Alange: Uh-huh. I have a little bit left, and I mean a little bit left.

[00:11:08] Julie: Okay.

[00:11:10] Julie: After Savannah refused to return the Rolexes, Marlene finally broke down and told her daughter what was going on. Her daughter urged Marlene to go to the police, but according to authorities, Savannah hadn't committed a crime.

[00:11:23] Marlene Alange: My daughter and I went to Atlantic City, the police department. I told them what happened. They said to me, quote unquote, "You willingly gave them the money, so we can't do anything." It's frustrating because these people, they're getting away with, I'm not going to say murder, but it's not right. It's not right what they've done.

[00:11:39] Julie: When you were writing big checks, did your banks ever question that you were making such large and frequent withdrawals?

[00:11:46] Marlene Alange: No, because it was my signature and I'm the one that did it. You know, they're not going to question; they probably see it, we don't care what they do. Maybe they you know, that I'm doing it willingly. They didn't even question it, no, not at all.

(MUSIC SEGUE)

[00:12:01] Julie: Now I'm talking with experimental psychologist Maria Konnikova who is a New York Times bestselling author, journalist, and professional poker player. Maria's work focuses on unpacking the decision making process and she's done extensive research on con artists. Maria, thank you for being a guest on our podcast to talk with us about the psychology of scams from the makeup and personalities of con artists to their methodology in how they lure victims in over and over again, even though we know we shouldn't believe them. Maria, what can you tell us about the mindset of con artists?

[00:12:34] Maria Konnikova: When I was looking at backgrounds of con artists, studying con artists, meeting with con artists, um, and wanted to see, you know is there something that makes a con artist, I found that it's really just, it's a combination of things, and there's no one thing that would guarantee that someone's going to be a con artist. So, it's opportunity, it's disposition, it's a lot of different factors, and it's complicated. But there is something that emerges, um, over and over, and that's the so-called dark triad of traits. Now, I do want to caveat it by saying that not all con artists have the dark triad, and most of them don't have all three traits of the dark triad, specifically psychopathy; we'll talk about all three traits in a second, but psychopathy's quite rare in the population. Um, and there are more con artists than there are psychopaths, and it's not a perfect overlap. Um, the other two are much more prevalent, and usually con artists have the other two.

[00:13:33] Julie: Got it. Okay, let's hear all about it.

[00:13:35] Maria Konnikova: The first one is psychopathy, which is basically a failure to experience emotions, to experience empathy, to experience remorse in the same way as a non-psychopathic brain does. So the psychopath brain is actually wired a little bit differently, and the emotional centers are wired differently. And so there's not this hot visceral reaction to emotions. Instead it's cold, it's rational, and it enables people who have this to justify a lot of different things, because they can rationalize it away, and they don't feel remorse for their victims, they don't feel any guilt about what they're doing, and that's very powerful, because it means that you can keep doing it over and over and over, and you don't think you're a bad person. That's actually something that I found repeatedly with the con artists I met and spoke with. None of them think that they're bad people. They all think that they're actually very good human beings, and lot of them will go to great lengths to say, no, no, I'm not actually a con artist. Everything I did was justified for different reasons. And I think psychopathy is something that allows them to do that.

            Um, then there is narcissism. And narcissism, when we think of narcissists, we usually think of people who think the world revolves around them, and that's only part of it. So it's, yes, it is that you think you’re kind of the center of the universe, but it's also a sense of entitlement, a sense of "I deserve this, and I deserve it more than other people." So, narcissism will allow con artists to justify a lot of what they do, because they'll say, oh, well I'm not doing anything wrong when I steal this person's identify. I actually deserve those credentials more. Yeah, sure, so he might have studied for six years for his PhD, sure she might have gone to med school, but I'm smarter, and I, you know, those should rightly be mine. And so they just take them, and they say, yep, I'm just righting the world. I'm righting the wrongs of the world. This is the world as it should be. Um, and I deserve everything. And once again, this is very powerful because it enables them to just mentally rationalize everything that they're doing, and to tell the story um, about how they're really good guys.

            Um, and then the final thing I think is actually the most important in terms of what they're able to accomplish, and I think you can't be a con artist without this, and it's Machiavellianism. Machiavellianism comes from Machiavelli's, "The Prince" and it's a trait that basically means that you can convince other people to do exactly what you want them to do without their knowledge, so that they think that it's actually their idea. Someone who's Machiavellian will plant the seeds of ideas in your mind so that ultimately you think, oh, you know, I think this is good, I want to do this. This is my call. I'm so smart. Look at this beautiful plan that I thought of, and that is incredibly powerful, because if you think that it's your idea, if you think that you're the actor in the story, then not only do you not feel manipulated, but you're much more invested, because you have agency, and you feel like you're the one who's making the choices, when the whole time it's the con artist.

[00:17:00] Julie: That is really interesting. Maria, what can cons teach us about human nature in our most profound needs?

[00:17:07] Maria Konnikova: I think fundamentally, cons are all about hope. They're about something very positive, um, in human nature, or at least on the side of the victim. I'm not saying that, the fact that con artists are conning is positive. But what they teach us about us, because I think that the reason that we fall for cons at the end of the day, is that we're hopeful. We are creatures who think that tomorrow is going to be better than today, you know otherwise, what's the point? And what con artists sell is hope. They sell this more optimistic, rosier version of the world, which is the version of the world that we already believe in. So the genius of the con artist is looking at you, truly listening to you, and figuring out what it is that you want, how it is that you already see the world, because none of us are objective, none of us see the the world in the same way. They figure out what your specific biases are, what your specific vision of the world is, and then they sell it back to you. They mirror that image back in your face, and you think, oh, well, yes, exactly. See, I've been telling you this all along. This is exactly what I've been talking about, and you don't realize that they've just gotten that all from you, and I think that you know, obviously it's terrible that we can be taken advantage of that way, but it's also what makes us fundamentally human, and it's also something that's very good about us. I mean do you really want to live in a world without hope, without trust? Where people don't think optimistically, where they don't aspire to a better vision? I mean, I know that I don't want to live in a world like that. So even though that's kind of the chink that con artists exploit, I think that that's something that's really wonderful about how the human mind works.

[00:19:07] Julie: We had a guest on our show, a woman who unfortunately fell victim to a psychic scam, um, that cost her several thousands of dollars. Can you shed some light on psychic scams? Why are they so successful?

[00:19:24] Maria Konnikova: Psychic scams are some of the scams that just get to me the most. I am just so incredibly mad because they just take advantage of people when they're just so down, um, when they're at some of the worst moments of their life, and that's actually one of the reasons for their success. So what we find when we look at victims of con artists, is not that they share any personality traits; they don't. Or that they share any sort of specific background; they don't. Or that they share some sort of education level; they don't. But that they are at specific vulnerable instances in their life; moments of transition, moments when their frame of reference has shifted. So, you know, maybe they're getting a divorce, maybe somebody close to them has died, maybe they've lost a job. Um, maybe they've had to move across country for a new job, 'cause this can be positive as well, but it's moments of flux when they need, when they need certain things, when they have questions, when there are lots of things that are unresolved. And psychic scams are just tailor-made to home in on those moments, to home in on people when they're down at their lowest moment, where they don't have anywhere else to turn, where they don't have anything to hope for, and they give them an answer. They say, oh, you know, I can give you that certainty. I can give you back agency when you're feeling powerless. I can tell you a story that's going to make sense. And in that moment, even people who are incredibly skeptical will often say, well it can't hurt, can it? Let me just walk into this psychic parlor and see what happens.

[00:21:03] Julie: Can you talk about how typical this is for a scammer to be so charming at first, but then how they turn their mood on a dime if you start to cross them?

[00:21:13] Maria Konnikova: Absolutely. I think that there are lots of misconceptions about con artists, but one of the biggest ones is that you'll see them coming. And I actually think that con artists are incredibly charismatic. That's why it works. You will not see them coming. Con artists, you'll see them and say, oh my God, what a great person. Um, you know I want to grab a beer with them. I want this person to be my friend. I found this happening to me when I knew I was meeting with a con artist. I had this one experience with this older gentleman who was a card shark, and had cheated people in crooked games all over the world for decades and decades, and he was in his early 80s at the time I met him. And I remember, you know, we were having this conversation and I remember thinking, oh my God, this guy's amazing. I want him to be my grandfather, like he's a, he's so great. He's so fun. Um, and he's like,

"Oh, you know, come over to my house. I'll uh teach you how to do this and that," and I said, "Yeah, let's do it." And then it just, it struck me, wait. This is actually a really bad person who has ruined a lot of lives, who's driven some people to suicide. Um, this is not the grandfather that you want. But they're, that's their charm. Um, and that's the reason they're able to appeal to you. Now, you're also talking about another phenomenon which is that sometimes they can completely change their colors. That usually happens when they feel under threat, and they will use your friendship to make you feel like the bad guy for trying to raise red flags. So it's a very emotional and manipulative tactic, that's actually used by abusers, um, the world over.

[00:22:52] Julie: Maria, as we conclude your interview, is there one piece of advice you'd like to share with our listeners in regards to the psychology of scams?

[00:23:04] Maria Konnikova: You know, I think the one thing that's most important to realize is that the same thing that makes me vulnerable to scams is the same thing that makes me a good human being. They're taking advantage of the good in me. They're taking advantage of my hope. They're taking advantage of my hope for humanity, so, if that means that once in a while I might be conned, it's actually really good defense, because it means that you're not going to necessarily rationalize away things in the same way, because you will say, oh, wait, you know, this is okay, this is happening, why is it happening? Okay, now I can get out of this situation, as opposed to saying, you know, oh, I'm not getting conned because I could never be conned. No, no, this is actually legitimate. So I think that it can actually be quite empowering to, to admit that it's okay. Um, and that said, obviously, we hope that you're able to protect yourself, but you have to stop judging yourself. Believe me, society will do enough judging for you.

[00:24:04] Julie: Um-hmm. Thank you so much, Maria.

[00:24:06] Maria Konnikova: All right, thank you, I appreciate it.

[00:24:08] Julie: Okay, bye-bye.

[00:24:08] Maria Konnikova: Take care. Bye.

(MUSIC SEGUE)

[00:24:11] Julie: Frank, if this kind of scam is going on, is it typical for banks and credit card companies to have such a hands-off approach, or can you help explain the roles that banks have in these situations?

[00:24:21] Frank Abagnale: Well, unfortunately, it is, because many banks, even today, are very reluctant to interfere in somebody's transactions or how they're spending their money. They feel very uncomfortable asking somebody questions about, well is this money going towards this or going to that? They feel it's not their business to tell people, what to do with their money, but that is why AARP has got very involved in a program called Bank Safe, and basically what AARP does is they go out and encourage financial institutions, banks, credit unions, to educate their tellers to be, uh notice some of these things. So for example, Mrs. Johnson comes in and every week she normally just takes out 68 to 70 dollars out of her savings account, and then one day she comes in and says to the teller, "I need to take out $5,000 cash." And this is where, when a well-trained teller can sit down with that individual, because they have a relationship with the customer, and say, "Look, that's fine, but I just want to make sure no one has told you that you won a sweepstakes, that you owe some back taxes," and they usually end up hitting on the thing and the person goes, "Well yeah, that's exactly what happened." And then the bank's able to say, you know, "That's a scam and I really don't recommend that you do that or spend your money that way. Uh, but again, there are many banks, even today, that are reluctant to do that, so AARP is really doing their part to encourage more banks and savings banks to educate their tellers to spot these scams, because that's what, to me, personally, should be done because that's where the bank brings value to the customer. I don't want my bank just to hold my money, I want my bank also try to protect me and so to me, a bank asking me those questions, I look at that, that's a value add for my bank. They're just looking out to make sure that I'm not being taken advantage of. I think we can do a lot of good with getting banks to educate their tellers and uh be able to look out for these kind of warning signs where people are having their, uh money uh taken from all types of different scams.

[00:26:15] Julie: Got it. Now, Frank, as we learned in Episode 44 of this podcast, oftentimes these psychics aren't working alone, rather they're part of a sophisticated crime ring and can be difficult for law enforcement to prosecute. Can you explain why?

[00:26:29] Frank Abagnale: A lot of times because they follow the line of not breaking the law, just staying on that line between legal and illegal. And so, again, if I ask you go to buy me Rolexes, and you go buy me Rolexes and give them to me, it's hard for me to say it's fraud because they're going to say, well you didn't have to go buy the Rolexes. You, you just did it because she asked you to do it and you gave it to her. So again, it gets very difficult to get into court and then try to say, well this person was defrauding me, they didn't force you to do it, they didn't promise you something in return. Well if you give me the Rolexes, I'll give you this. So I think those kind of things are extremely difficult, and that's where in those kind of instances, you have to share with someone, say, "Hey, you know, I've been going to this psychic and this is what the story is." So that someone looking from the outside can say, "You know, that's a scam," and sharing that with someone that you trust their opinion, and talk it over with them. But if I was in that situation and even if I was under that ether, I, when it started to come to things like that, I want to go ask a friend or somebody and say, "Hey, do you think this is right? I see this psychic, and now she tells me this and tells me this." And get advice from someone you trust.

[00:27:39] Julie: All right, Frank, well once again, it's always great to have you here with us. Anything else you want to say about psychics before we end this episode?

[00:27:46] Frank Abagnale: Just be careful. Great, great to go to the psychic, hear your fortune retold, and maybe get some advice from them, but the minute they start asking you for gifts and money and send me a cashier's check or things like that, that's the red flag. It's time you need to walk out.

[00:28:00] Julie: Yeah, exactly. All right, well thank you, and uh we'll see you next week.

[00:28:04] Frank Abagnale: Okay, thanks.

[00:28:06] Julie: If you or someone you know has been the victim of a fraud or scam, call AARP's Fraud Watch Network Helpline, at 877-908-3360. Thank you to our team of scambusters, producer Brook Ellis, our audio engineer Julio Gonzales, and of course, my cohost, Frank Abagnale. Be sure to find us on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. For AARP - The Perfect Scam, I'm Julie Getz.

(MUSIC SEGUE)

END OF TRANSCRIPT

How to listen and subscribe to AARP's podcasts

Are you new to podcasts? Learn how to subscribe to AARP Podcasts on any device.

Join the Discussion

0 | Add Yours

Please leave your comment below.

You must be logged in to leave a comment.