Cross and Crossroads: How to Spot an Insta-Scammer

Cross and Crossroads: How to Spot an Insta-Scammer August 4, 2020

An unfortunate reality when it comes to online Witchery is the high prevalence of scammers. I work as a professional witch and do most of my work and marketing through Instagram (follow me @Oregon_Wood_Witch). After amassing a small following, an interesting phenomenon began to take place: people began to steal my photos and peddle them as their own.

People began to steal my photos and peddle them as their own. Image by Pete Linforth via Pixabay.

Suddenly, folks were messaging me screen grabs of random accounts using my pictures with captions like “powerful spellwork I did for a client”, while usually noting that the spell was for something that it’s clearly not (ex: they’d say it was a “love spell” or a “spell to bring back an ex” even though anyone who had any magical training could tell it was a protection spell, or a money spell etc.). This further proved that the “caster” in question clearly has no knowledge of witchcraft even though they are charging for such services.

Still, folks are uneducated and buy into it easily. A little too easily, a lot of the time. Some of these scammers even have thousands of followers all begging to be charged hundreds if not thousands of dollars for bunk spells that the scammer is clearly not even trying to do. So, this begs the question, “How can you tell if someone is a scammer?” Below I will list the most common signs of a scammer and discuss each one.

Note: Now, before you even begin writing me hate mail, please understand that not one of these things alone directly means the person is a scammer (well sometimes, but we’ll discuss that below). I’m sure some of you have some of the smaller signs on your profile and will take offense to them being on the list. Please remember that this article is not about you, it’s about scammers, and unless you are a scammer you have nothing to worry about from this article, so don’t @ me. Let’s discuss…

This is a major red flag right off the bat! Image by Gerd Altmann via Pixabay.

They reach out to you first.

This is a major red flag right off the bat! If a worker messages you and says that spirit/ancestors/orisha asked them to reach out to you for a very important reason (usually stating that they have a message or that you are terribly cursed and need their help), it’s most definitely a scam. Now, I have on occasion had to pass on a message from a deceased loved one in a similar manner, but I give the message upfront, don’t require a message back, and don’t charge to relay the message. The two look and feel very different, and the former should be blocked immediately.

They guarantee results.

Statements like “all spells 100% effective” or “all readings 100% accurate” are also most definitely a scam. I know some truly gifted psychics who give amazing readings, but even they cannot guarantee 100% accuracy. Same with spells; not even the most powerful witches can cast with unfailing success because we are all up against fate/destiny and some things are simply not meant to be. No worker can honestly make these guarantees.

Claiming to be able to cure incurable diseases.

Many scammers will list that they can cure cancer, herpes, AIDS, and most recently, Covid-19. These are not things that can be done by means of magic. Not even the most powerful IG Babalawo can fix them and giving them your money is a mistake. While infertility may be helped by magical means, if it’s listed with the others above, don’t even think about hiring them.

Many scammers will list that they can cure incurable diseases. Image by Arek Socha via Pixabay.

Inconsistent altars.

Ever notice that the altars in someone’s pics don’t match or seem to even be in the same house? Like sure they all look witchy, but one’s a Baphomet altar, one’s a Guadalupe altar, one looks like a trendy witchy aesthetic picture from Pinterest-land that was taken in a rustic barn with abnormally good lighting, and another is in some weird basement etc. This is a clear indication that the person is using stolen pictures. Yes, many working witches will have multiple altars, but they usually have the same style or at least appear to be in the same house. Taking a scroll through a scammers IG will clearly show if the pictures are consistent or not. If they aren’t, it means it’s not their work.

Inconsistent captions.

All IG contributors will develop their own voice, even if they aren’t intentionally crafting one. Their posts will sound like them. As witchcraft becomes trendier, the scammers have gotten bolder and recently have begun to not just steal the posts but also the captions! Yet surprisingly, the people following them don’t seem to notice how wildly different the captions will be. I’ve even come across several that mention specific groups or classes folks can join that the person posting will clearly not be affiliated with as it’s mentioned nowhere else on their account. One even had a link to the original poster‘s website included, and yet no one seemed to notice. Keep an eye out for these things.

Using “psychic” in their name.

I know, I know, not all psychics are scammers but if I had a dollar for every scammer I came across with a name like “Psychic Samantha” or “Psychic Jessica” I’d be Elon Musk rich. Also using the stereotypical neon psychic window sign in their profile picture or advertisements is a red flag as well.

If I had a dollar for every scammer I came across . . . Photo by Scott Rodgerson via Unsplash.

Buzzwords.

Yes, most scammers use the same buzzwords. Things like, “twin flame” and “expert” particularly “love” or “relationship” expert are the most common. Many will also claim ties to Nigeria as well. Though real Babalawos certainly do exist, I hate to say that a large portion that you find on IG are not legit, and you can tell by the fact that they all seem to have the same pictures used over and over again as they steal from one another. Also, fake IG Babalawos are all for some reason doctors, that’s generally a red flag as well.

Metaphysical babble.

Ever run across someone who just seems so connected with the higher realms that you can barely even understand what it is that they are talking about? Yeah, that’s a red flag. Much like the buzzwords, it’s common for scammers to post absolute gibberish that sounds really important. “We are all transcending through the cosmic gates and downloading the 5D crystalline frequencies that will unlock our higher consciousness!” What does that mean? Absolutely nothing, but folks will eat that stuff up like crazy. If the Audrey Kitching scandal taught us anything, it’s to be leery of new age gibberish.

Multiple accounts.

Scammers get booted off of IG a lot because we find out and report them. Therefore, it’s common for them to have multiple accounts as backups. If you are about to get work done by “@PsychicJessica” (arbitrary example), type in their name in the IG search bar and see if a handful of other accounts with similar names and purposes pop up. You may find “@Psychic_Jessica” and “@Psychic_LoveDoctor_Jessica” and “Psychic_Reader_Jessica” all with the same pictures or vibe.

It’s common for folks to practice multiple types of magic. Photo by Taliesi via Pixabay.

Holding a spiritual title in several different paths.

It’s common for folks to practice multiple types of magic, and even hold a title in one or sometimes two, but be wary of anyone who claims to be a voodoo mambo, a Wiccan high priestess, a Curandera, a Santera, and an Appalachian Granny Witch all at once. That’s just not how this works, and if someone claims to be a high-ranking member of several different traditions, it’s a clear red flag.

WhatsApp.

Yup! Again, I’m sure somewhere there are legit folks on WhatsApp but again, most of the scammers I come across want you to work with them via this very sketchy platform. Don’t do it. Back in the day it was sending money via money order or Western Union, but nowadays it’s all digital.

Fake reviews.

This one can be tricky to unravel but with a keen eye you can usually spot them. It’s common for frauds to also steal reviews off of other workers’ profiles and try to peddle them as their own. Those are hard to disprove unless you recognize the review from another account but that’s unlikely. Recognizing someone’s altar or spell is one thing. Recognizing a word for word review is much harder.

However, a lot of the time they’ll do one of two things that will give them away. First, video testimony is big on scam accounts. I have never in my life seen a legit worker with a video of a client talking about how amazing their work is. It’s important for workers to keep their client’s identity a secret.

Recognizing a word for word review is much harder. Image by Gerd Altmann via Pixabay.

If you find one of these, they sometimes have the testifier’s account linked in the caption. When you follow the link to their account, it will often look fake. They’ll only have a small handful of posts, most with not much going on in them or little to no caption. If there is a caption it’s usually short or another testimony about the wonder that is “Dr. IG Babalawo”. You can put together a fake account like that in moments.

The second way to spot fake reviews is they’ll randomly show up in the comments section of a post that has lots of activity. For instance, a really popular post witchy or not (I’ve seen them on cat videos too), will have a random comment like “I had thought that all hope was lost and that I would die of a very serious illness. However, the gods shined upon me and brought me to Dr. IG Babalawo who gave me the magic ring that changed my life forever. Now I am cured of disease, no longer have money issues, and my ex-boyfriend left his new wife and came back to be with me. Contact him on WhatsApp at +555555555”. Whenever you see those, just go ahead and click that profile and then block the poster, and Dr. IG Babalawo as well. You don’t need that scam energy in your life.

 

If someone charges thousands of dollars, it’s a red flag. Image by Dean Moriarty via Pixabay.

Charging an exorbitant amount.

Yes, every worker has the right to set their own prices. That being said, among legitimate workers the highest I’ve seen for a single spell is $750 and while I may not choose to charge that much, I know the worker is worth the money.

If someone charges thousands of dollars, it’s a red flag. I’ve scoped scammer websites and they frequently have services priced starting at $1,000 and up to as much as $50,000 or $100,000. No spell is worth that kinda money, I don’t care if they are Marie Laveau herself back from the dead. Don’t ever pay someone that much. If you are faced with a worker that says you have a major problem and need to pay a high price to fix it, get a second opinion. Or a third.

Psychics that only channel dead celebrities.

Yup, major red flag. This includes current names that are in the media. Like that one lady who suddenly claimed to be channeling George Floyd. Major red flag. Don’t follow them.

Scammers will try and get you to pay more. Photo by Capri23auto via Pixabay.

Lastly, if you have the misfortune of hiring a scammer they will often attempt to get as much money out of you as they can.

There are many common reasons they use to try and get you to pay more. Usually something like “the curse was more powerful than I thought, I need more money to break it” and usually is followed by something like “I can’t stop now! If I do, the curse will come back stronger and harm you and your children, so please send more money!”.

Others don’t even weave a story, they just start threatening to harm the client if they aren’t paid more money. Sometimes they even go as far as threatening to snatch the client’s soul out of their body while they sleep, or make their children ill. I’ve seen some pretty scary stuff.

What you have to remember when this happens is that the scammer doesn’t actually have any magical knowledge. If they did, they wouldn’t be scamming. A lot of folks will pay them more money out of fear that the worker will make good on their claims, not connecting the fact that if the scammer had any real occult knowledge they’d be selling real spells and items and have no reason to run a scam. Also, that’s not really how curse removal works, just FYI. If someone is clearly scamming you out of money, don’t be afraid of them harming you magically.

 

While this is far from a complete list, these are the major things to look for when trying to assess if someone is a scammer or not. Remember to be skeptical while looking through magical instagrams. Even if they have a lot of followers, positive reviews, and exciting verbiage, it doesn’t mean that they are legit. I’ve seen profiles of serious scammers that look very convincing. So, if you aren’t sure, go through this list and see how they stack up. Good luck, and don’t get scammed!

About J. Allen Cross
J. Allen Cross is a practicing witch of Mexican, Native American, and European descent whose craft was shaped by his Catholic upbringing and mixed family culture. Living in his home state of Oregon, he works as Psychic Medium/Occult Specialist for a well-known Paranormal Investigation team. When he’s not investigating, he enjoys providing spells and potions to his local community, teaching classes for budding witches, and serving up piping hot tea, for his insta-familia. He has looked forward to sharing his love of Folk Magic, and unorthodox spiritual ideas on this platform for some time and hopes you enjoy all that’s to come. You can read more about the author here.
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