The Dramatic Rise of Self-Described “Psychics” in the 2020s

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My reason for beginning this article as such is directly due to the controversy in the field, and the most common accusations that these individuals are little more than cold readers. Though I personally by nature am also a skeptic and do not believe in the legitimacy of practitioners who charge (or do not charge) fees for private clients, nonetheless the recent rise in related practice has been notable and worth an examination.

It should be further noted among the most frequent reasons given for the increase in practicing psychics since 2020 have been the pandemic, The Great Resignation and, relatedly, people simply looking to begin their own business.

Let us explore.

According to a September 25, 2020 article from, “Psychic Scams Rise During COVID-19 Pandemic,” the sideline began, for many individuals, as a result of job loss.

The article, in part, discusses the work of former New York City Transit and Nassau County police officer Bob Nygaard, whose sideline work has led to numerous prosecutions and apparent recovery of monetary rewards for some victims of fraudulent psychics.

As excerpted from Being defrauded by a spiritualist isn’t a matter of losing cash after paying for a legitimate service; typically, these are cases of theft by false pretenses, Nygaard says. And fraudsters rarely use the money they rake in toward the work they tell patrons they will do. Calling the offenders part of “nontraditional organized crime families,” he says they buy exotic cars, dine in fancy restaurants and take pricey vacations with their windfalls. It all happens amid their outlandish claims: You’ll be cured of cancer. Or your child will recover from autism. You’ll win the lottery. Or you’ll collect an inheritance. Or your lost love will reemerge.

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