Updated July 5, 2020

As if it weren’t enough that psychics and mediums are often falsely stereotyped, they also are subject to bad press and public mockery. Sadly, that press is sometimes warranted.

As a professional psychic medium and teacher of mediumship, I don’t agree with everything that the critics and skeptics say, but I do think they’re right to be raising questions. In fact, their questions help raise standards of professionalism in the field — and can help you as a consumer differentiate the highly trained, skilled professionals from the frauds.  

Mediumship is like any other professional field (attorneys, doctors, financial advisors, therapists, etc.), in that you will find a very wide range of competency and ethics among its practitioners, even among those who hold certifications. People who call themselves “mediums” tend to fall into one of the following categories:

  • Cons who prey on vulnerabilities (in people and/or laws) for their own gain;
  • People who have good intentions but lack adequate skill and development; and
  • Highly trained, skilled, professionals who apply their expertise in service of their clients.

Because sitting for a reading can be an emotional experience, vetting a medium ahead of time will make you less vulnerable to frauds or scams.

Yes, fakes are out there.

Unlike professional mediums who use their skills to be in service, frauds are driven by money, fame and/or prestige. How can you tell a fake medium from a real one?

Any of the following types of “readings” should raise a big red flag:

Fraud #1: Predatory Manipulations

These con men (and women) use fear, mystery, pain and drama to draw you in and scare you. They will often tell you that your deceased loved one is in pain or serious trouble, or that you have been unknowingly put under a curse that is harming you.

They will tell you that they can immediately help your loved one, clear curses and spells, and protect you — for an additional fee. Sometime after your first meeting, they may phone you (out of the blue) to say that they have studied your situation and now have new ways to help you — for a fee.

Real and professional mediums do not manipulate or use scare tactics. They are transparent about their fees (I personally believe fees should be listed on websites). They will not surprise you with add-on fees or try to upsell you. And they certainly do not call you and push more services!

Fraud #2: Hot Readings

A fraud who does a “hot reading” delivers pre-known information but makes it seem like they have made a true medium connection. Before the reading (or working with a partner), this con gathers specific, compelling facts about you and your family (from the internet or other ways) and then weaves them seamlessly into their “mediumship” delivery.

Of course, they add a bit of drama and style to help you believe the act! The reader will provide names, dates, places, maybe even some elements of a spirit’s personality. The information will be close to 100% accurate, and you think — wow, that is incredible!

However, you will not hear any validating information or messages that only you could know, that wasn’t published somewhere. When you reflect later about the reading, you may feel a bit empty.

No medium is 100% accurate all the time. While some mediums are quite good with getting factual information from the other side, the most effective and professional mediums will be asking the spirits to provide information or evidence that only you would know. If the medium sounds like they have been reading a phone book or your Facebook page … they probably were.

Fraud #3: Cold Readings

A “cold reading” will sound like a real medium reading, but the information is not coming from a legitimate medium connection with the other side. If the reader KNOWS they are cold reading but presents this as a medium reading, then that person is behaving fraudulently.

Frauds who cold-read are phenomenal observers of people and behavior — and highly persuasive as well. They are able to prompt you into unwittingly give them cues, clues and information.

Essentially, they go “fishing” — making generalized statements or asking questions (“Who has a parent who passed?”). They closely observe your reactions to find your “tells” — the involuntary reactions in your face or body when they have hit on something that resonates with you.

In a group, the cold reader will pick out the audience member who responds with the most outward emotion. That person is the most vulnerable AND most likely to continue to readily provide cues as the fishing expedition continues.

Once cold readers have gleaned a little information from you, they construct a story that will be generally credible to you and will make you feel good in the moment. But later, as you reflect on the reading, something seems missing, something seems off. You don’t have that same warm feeling. You realize that you never received any truly personal message or validation with information that only you could have known.

So, what can YOU do?

Regardless of the reader you choose, be sure that. You never “feed the medium.” A true, professional medium will stop you from proactively providing information. Let the medium do the work to get the information legitimately through the medium connection and then pass it to you for validation.

Do what you can to research a medium before selecting. Look for signs of ethics and professionalism. In my opinion, you should be able to find the medium’s prices and policies clearly spelled out.

Read the reviews and look for specifics rather than generalities. If the medium has certifications listed, find out what that actually means. Did they attend a workshop for a weekend? Did they go through a rigorous testing process?

As part of your research or vetting process, don’t be afraid to ask questions to a medium about their background, ethical practices, and ways of connecting. If the medium cannot or will not give clear answers, they may not be the right reader for you.

Related: Clearing the Confusion: How to Be an Educated Consumer of Psychic Mediumship

Real, professional mediums serve both Spirit and you.

There are a lot of fantastic mediums out there in the world who make genuine medium connections and help people in so many ways. They have worked very hard to develop their skills and have devoted their lives to this work. Some of them are on TV. Most of them are not.

Real mediums are professionals who take great pride in their work. We’re here in service to you, and to your loved ones on the Other Side. It’s truly our privilege to help you make these sacred connections.

Amy is on a personal mission to raise the standard of ethics and professionalism in her field. Learn more about Amy’s background and experience.