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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > February 2012 > Spiritual Advisor or Scam Artist?

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Spiritual Advisor or Scam Artist?


In certain cultures, spiritual advisors and healers are trusted individuals who provide helpful guidance to others.

Unfortunately, in the U.S., some people who guarantee to eliminate evil spirits, cure your financial problems, and rejuvenate your personal relationship and health through spiritual practices are scam artists.

These individuals have limited or no training in spiritual practices. In a few cases, scam artists conducting these spiritual practices have even been criminally charged for their actions. 

You can protect yourself by learning to distinguish a trustworthy spiritual advisor from a scam artist. Scam artists prey on one’s spiritual beliefs by advertising spiritual assistance to solve all your problems. They often demand cash payment up front before conducting any services. 

There are no guarantees these spiritual practices will solve your problems. Do not provide any cash payments before taking part in any spiritual practices and be sure to ask specific questions regarding their practices.

People who fall for spiritual practice scams can lose hundreds to thousands of dollars a session.

Ask questions:

  • Ask friends and family about the reputation of the individual’s practice.
  • Ask about cancellations and refund policies.
  • Ask to see any certifications or credentials.
  • Ask detailed questions about the spiritual practice itself.

Signs of a scam:

  • Requests for personal information
  • Demands of cash payment up-front
  • Unrealistic promises

Protect yourself:

  • Do not fall for high pressure sales tactics.
  • Get all verbal promises in writing.
  • Research the reputation of the individual’s practice.
  • Never wire transfer money to a stranger.
  • Don’t trust exaggerated claims or vague descriptions.
  • Save all documentation.
Report scams and learn more by contacting the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or 800-282-0515.