There are over 750 Gypsy Fortune Tellers in the police database. Is your Gypsy Psychic on the list?

How does the fortune telling con work?

The Gypsy fortune teller spiritual work scam is what’s known as a “confidence crime”. In this particular case, it’s an especially mean one because of the large sums of money stolen from the victim.

The spiritual work scam perpetrated by Gypsy fortune tellers nationwide involves a considerable degree of mental suggestion, which simply means keeping you in a trance state. It also involves coercion on the part of the Gypsy con artist, threatening a victim with warnings of a ruined life and tragedy if they don’t comply. First let’s define a trance so as to not paint a picture of a person in a zombie-like state. That’s not what’s meant by a trance. A trance simply means a state of mind a person maintains consistently not because it’s truthful or beneficial but because a belief system keeps it in place. A simple example is someone who believes they’re terrible at math because of bad experiences in school. They could be excellent at math if they just gave themselves permission to be open to that possibility and let go of the shame or feelings they’re carrying from their past experiences. If they continue to really believe they’re no good at math, they’re operating in a trance state and they’ll shape their reality accordingly. That’s what’s meant by a trance. It’s what stage hypnotists are doing to audience volunteers when they “hypnotize” a person into not being able to remember their name, or a number, or thinking their foot is glued to the floor. The hypnotist is feeding the suggestion but the subject is the one actually installing the suggestion in their own head and creating their own trance. A similar, albeit more damaging, thing happens with the spiritual work scam.

The Gypsy con needs to know that you totally believe what she’s telling you and that you believe in her supposed powers so that she can be certain of her newly achieved influence over your mind and your judgment. When she feels safe that this is the case, she can begin putting the squeeze on you, taking your money under the guise of performing “special work” and prayers she warns you must be performed or else your life is ruined. She constantly works to reinforce her control over you for as long as you’re financially capable of fulfilling your end of the bargain: handing over all your money which in reality the Gypsy con’s family is stealing from you.

Gypsy fortune teller con artists across the nation all use the exact same, consistent formula to pull off the spiritual work scam, teaching it to each subsequent generation of daughters.

The Anatomy of the “Spiritual Work” Scam

Stage 1: Perform a Cold Reading–the lifeblood of the whole scam

  1. Once the victim has entered the fortune telling parlor for their “reading”, the spiritualist works to gain the victim’s trust by putting on an act of being kind, sympathetic, mothering and interested in the victim’s well being if the victim appears troubled and looking for answers (why else would they be there?).
  2. The fortune teller begins her “psychic reading” by throwing out some vague information that the victim misinterprets as proof of this so-called adviser’s powers. The victim unwittingly connects the Gypsy’s generalizations to actual people, events and circumstances in their life. The victim does this voluntarily, but unconsciously, because they want to believe the Gypsy is really psychic, otherwise why would they be there for a reading. All the Gypsy con has to do is play the role of psychic convincingly, and she does so with the skill of an Academy Award-winning actress. The Gypsy masterfully reads the body language of the victim as she throws out these generalizations, noting when she’s registered a “hit”, meaning a statement the victim has connected to something. Furthermore, the stronger the “hit”, the more likely the victim will unknowingly assist the Gypsy by verbalizing the connections they’ve made between the cold reader’s generalizations and actual people and events in the victim’s life. Now the Gypsy can direct the cold reading down specific avenues, and as the Gypsy con artist has perfected this art over years of scamming, she knows just which generalizations to use. In fact, she actually uses the same ones on all of her victims–with each victim thinking she’s really saying something unique about them specifically (“How could she know that about me?”).
  3. During this time, she also gleans as much personal information about the victim as she can. She later rephrases what the victim told her, but makes it sound like she has some special insight into the victim’s situation. Because the victim has gotten themselves emotionally involved at this point and they’re looking for help, they don’t readily see that she’s simply rephrasing information this victim gave her only moments before, sometimes as little as 10 minutes before. It’s easier for her to do than you realize if you’re emotionally involved in the situation. The Gypsy could be holding a sign over her head saying, “I’m doing it to you,” and you wouldn’t see it (figuratively speaking). Cold reading is how people fake psychic ability. Cold reading, in my opinion, is central to how Gypsy fortune teller con artists pull off this whole scam. How else could a con artist convince someone to lower their guard to receive the near-hypnotic suggestions they’re about to accept?
  4. Once the Gypsy fortune teller is satisfied that the victim has bought off on her cold reading ploy, she moves in for the kill. She reports to the victim that she has to be honest with them and let them know that she can sense that there exists some kind of darkness/evilness/negative energy surrounding the victim (the choice of wording will fit that Gypsy con’s preferred m.o., as well as their assessment of the education level, cultural background and religious beliefs of the victim). She states that the darkness or whatever she has called it is the reason why the victim’s life has not gone smoothly. The victim is likely shocked to hear this, and likely finds this news incredulous especially if the victim doesn’t believe in actual curses or darkness as many of course did not when they entered the parlor. What overrides the victim’s judgment, however, is the fact that they just bought the cold reading scam and thus have just convinced themselves that: the Gypsy con really has psychic powers, she knows things about them no one else could possibly know without being psychic, and she really cares for them more than anyone else in their life has lately. And now this Gypsy has an explanation for why the victim’s life has never worked for them. It’s an emotional one-two punch the Gypsy con masterfully delivers. The victim is now totally invested in the process. The Gypsy fortune teller has successfully completed Stage 1 of the con and her hooks are in. Confident, she now proceeds to Stage 2, where the real con begins.

Stage 2: Teach the victim to put themselves into their own trance, directed and maintained by the Gypsy, so that she can set the stage to turn the victim into her family’s personal “human ATM machine”

  1. On top of whatever she charged for the initial reading, which is all the victim was expecting to receive when they walked through the door, the Gypsy con now asks for an additional payment–anywhere from $100 to $200–in light of discovering the darkness that surrounds the victim. This additional money, the Gypsy con explains, is to pay for a “blessed candle” she will need to use that same day to help chase away the evil spirits/darkness/negativity she has discovered to be surrounding the victim–again which she has conned the victim into convincing themselves to be the real source of their life challenges all these years. The fortune teller needs to justify this request for money, so she tells the victim that this blessed candle (it could instead be a crystal or some other similar effect, again depending on that Gypsy con’s m.o.) will be prayed over by the Gypsy later that day and/or night, where it will be used to protect the victim as well as provide the spiritualist the ability to look into the victim’s “case”, as Gypsy fortune tellers often call it. The blessed candle allows her to “meditate” over the situation and receive information from beyond in order to know the deep, hidden truth behind the victim’s life situation. In other words, the Gypsy is promising the victim that for $200, she’s going to be able to tell the victim definitively what’s been wrong with their life in detail, and thus how to fix it. $200 would certainly seem more than reasonable to most in exchange for that kind of insight. One last thing though, the Gypsy con explains to the victim that because of the nature of darkness, the victim CANNOT tell another soul about this, not a single person, not even a loved one or family member. Doing so would risk the darkness interfering in this “spiritualist’s” work. Now do you see how a reasonable, intelligent person can begin to be taken in by a master con, even though the story they’re being sold would seem so preposterous to them before they walked into that parlor?
  2. She asks the victim to return to the parlor the next day or call her by phone, at which point she happily tells the victim that, although the darkness around them is strong, her powers are stronger and that she can remove it. She’ll set up some dollar amount needed for the special work to be done. This is typically several hundred dollars (say between $500 and $700). Even though she’s already successfully conned the victim for  a couple hundred dollars, she’s still working up to the big con and needs to test her control over the victim. The Gypsy con artist has successfully begun to teach the victim to put themselves into a trance state around the situation, which the fortune teller can then use to start feeding the victim ongoing promises and hope one day, followed by threats and coercions the next (like a carrot and a stick). These suggestions are carefully orchestrated so that the victim repeatedly makes the choice to hand over incredible sums of money in the name of saving themselves and/or something or someone important to them.
  3. Confident the trance she has taught the victim to put themselves in is working, she continues to feed and direct it as she needs. Things are going according to her plan, only the victim doesn’t know this. She has the victim call her regularly and stop by the parlor. She makes hopeful predictions and tells the victim how their life is improving, She continually checks to make sure the victim is trusting her by offering more suggestions and instructions all meant to reinforce that trance. One way to do this–and this is key–is that the Gypsy con orders the victim to perform various made-up rituals designed to appear to have some kind of spiritual or religious significance (e.g. “Keep this charm with you,” or “Spread x number of rose petals in your bed” or Take this small jar of holy water, wrap it up in an article of your clothing and pray on it each night, then bring it back here when I tell you.”). In reality, they’re merely methods for the Gypsy to make sure the victim is still handing their will and their judgment over–essential for the scam if the fortune teller is to keep the victim believing in the danger of what could happen should the victim end the spiritual work and get out of there.
  4. During this process, the Gypsy con will again emphatically instruct the victim that it is critical that they not tell another living soul about the spiritual work she is completing. She will again feed them the story that the work she is doing for the victim will be ruined–and all the money the victim had sacrificed wasted–should other people find out about it, that such is the nature of this special spiritual work she has been gifted by God to perform.

Stage 3: Work the Big Con.

  1. Satisfied that things are moving along with the formula and that her victim has adequately, albeit unconsciously, put themselves under her control mentally, the trap has been set for the big con, the ultimate aim of the Gypsy spiritual work scam. During the next visit to the parlor, or initiated over a phone call, the Gypsy spiritualist’s supportive tone of voice over the past couple of weeks or month and the hopeful, positive updates she has been feeding the victim abruptly change to a serious and worried demeanor. She now informs the victim, with some of her best acting to date, that while she thought things were going to be handled for the several hundred dollar “sacrifice” the victim has already made in secret, in the previous day(s) of performing the supposed spiritual work and prayer, the true nature and power of the evil surrounding that person revealed itself fully and–gasp–it’s profoundly stronger than it had originally appeared. Very worried, she informs the victim that stronger prayers and candles are needed. Perhaps even crystals, or a tabernacle or whatever scam convention that Gypsy and the con artist women in her family like to use. She informs the victim that her “church” and she are going to need to do very special work on the victim’s case, or else the victim may be lost in this darkness forever or some similar scary fate that the victim has now convinced themselves by virtue of the trance they’re in could actually exist and actually befall them if they don’t follow instructions.
  2. Now, before all is lost, there is some “good news” for the victim. The Gypsy and her church are very willing to do this work to rid the victim of this darkness forever, even though this darkness poses such a serious danger now, because they care so much about this victim and want to help the victim and do God’s work. If they haven’t said this already, the Gypsy con will declare that God truly brought the victim to her specifically because of the severity of this darkness. And that only she and her church have the power to help this victim. But it’s going to take a special sacrifice on the victim’s part. The victim must show their faith and make this sacrifice towards the work, no matter what the cost, because literally their future, their life and the well being of their loved ones are at stake now (if the con hasn’t included their well being at stake already). The good news is that although this darkness is powerful and stronger than it appeared to be, that Gypsy and her church are stronger, and they simply must help the victim. They are committed to doing whatever it takes, they care so much, but in return the victim must be equally as committed or all is lost. The Gypsy fortune teller relays a shocking dollar amount that will be required to rid the victim of this darkness once and for all. It will likely be somewhere in the neighborhood of $5,000 and $10,000 (though sometimes they’ll do an intermediate step demanding around $1,200 or $2,500 if the victim is younger and/or doesn’t seem to be able to produce that much money). Those numbers are the average, and it can sometimes be much higher if the Gypsy con thinks the victim has the financial means and if the Gypsy has done a masterful job at the con so far.
  3. This figure comes as a shock to the victim and there’s the potential at this stage that the victim can break themselves of the trance the Gypsy has tricked them into running in their own minds. (This happily is also the point where, thanks to, many victims who are questioning the demand for money they’ve just received go home, find this site and break themselves free before they fall for the big con). The Gypsy con artist knows this is usually a critical point in the con, the point where her acting skills, manipulativeness and con artistry must be at their best.
  4. She tells the victim a number of things to try to soften the blow of the dollar amount and reassure them, so that she doesn’t lose her victim. This takes the form of a carrot and stick approach. The stick usually comes first–she reminds the victim what’s at stake should they not comply (coercion). The carrot approach that follows the stick is even more convincing, however. In a supportive, motherly or sisterly tone, the Gypsy con reassures her victim that when this special, critical work is completed, the incredible show of faith this victim will have shown God by spacing so much money towards the work and showing such faith in this Gypsy “spiritualist” and her supposed church will pay off in other ways: the money will be returned to them in full, AND not just 100% in full, but in a larger amount than their original sacrifice! Often this will be promised to be the amount sacrificed “nine times fold” (9 x the original dollar amount). While you may think now that greed is at the heart of this type of confidence crime, in reality most victims are so shell shocked by the dollar amount they’re being demanded to “sacrifice” that they’re not even thinking in opportunistic or greedy terms about having their money coming back at a 900% rate of return. They’re just wondering if they’ll ever get 100% of it back. However, if the Gypsy’s act has been convincing up to this point, they’re ultimately more worried about their life and well being if they don’t comply, and thus the scam works.
  5. An essential element to the carrot dangle is now played: the Gypsy con swears up and down with incredible acting ability that this big dollar amount in the thousands required of the victim to sacrifice will absolutely, positively be the LAST and FINAL amount, and the last and final time the victim will ever need to make that kind of sacrifice, for after they make this sacrifice of sacrifices, the darkness will be overpowered for good and the victim will live happily ever after.

Stage 4: Repeat the cycle until the victim is literally broke, then cut and run.

  1. The Gypsy con feeds the victim happy news and progress on this special work supposedly being performed for the victim. Then she waits for what she gauges to be the appropriate time to lay on an act informing the victim that she has looked into the work and discovered that an additional candle, crystal or other object is needed because some additional work needs to be performed for this or that reason. In reality, the Gypsy will be acting mothering, caring, almost like a family member to the victim, wanting to know everything going on in the victim’s life in detail, so that she can see any new money on the victim’s radar, such as a raise at work, etc. If the victim buys off on this act, which is normally the case since they bought off on the big con once already, then it’s worked for the Gypsy once again and she’ll have stolen more money from the victim. Naturally, many if not most victims will protest that they were assured that the big sacrifice they already made was to be the last time. This is where all of the Gypsy’s work to have the victim put themselves in a trance surrounding this experience (remember the con begins, and ends, in the victim’s head), pays off. The Gypsy fortune teller will pull from the same bag of tricks she’s used so effectively up to this point. The victim’s own involvement up to this point now works against them–the deeper in they get, the more resistant they are to listening to their own intuition for fear of discovering this has all been an elaborate scam perpetrated on them, since the perceived pain and consequences of realizing that become that much greater. Like a gambling addict, they keep adding money to the slot machine, hoping this will finally be the time it pays off (in this case meaning the supposed spiritual work will be completed and their life will be fixed).
  2. The Gypsy simply repeats this cycle for months and even years, until the victim finally is either a.) bankrupt and alone (seriously) or b.) finally gains the strength to go back to their intuition telling them something’s wrong. To do this, they must get over the fear that the Gypsy fraud is going to unleash evil spirits on them in retaliation for leaving her. If any victims reading this are now discovering what’s been happening, let me assure you of two things: first, I felt the exact same fear and I know how real the fear of the Gypsy con retaliating in some dark way feels. Second, this does NOT happen obviously because the Gypsy cons have no real power and they can’t do anything to harm anyone–the con was in the victim’s head the whole time, put there by the Gypsy, and the damage has already been done financially, which is all the Gypsy and her family were interested in inflicting on us “stupid gadje” (nonGypsies). If the victim is able to listen to their intuition and find this site or figure things out another way, they finally get themselves out of the situation, and hopefully they go to the local police where the Gypsy’s parlor is located, and go after the Gypsy con and her family to get their money back.