The TV Psychics were busted years ago. Has the law changed? They are back.

About 12 years ago late night tv was inundated by so called Psychics. They siphoned off a lot of money from gullible people.

Thankfully, they were finally busted.

Why has this fraudulent scheme back? What’s changed with the law? Why are these people allowed to rip off gullible people? Isn’t there some way to keep this off the air?

Madam Cleo

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miss_Cleo

Psychic Network was shut down by AT&T when they refused to payout on the 900 numbers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychic_Friends_Network

What law do you suppose they are breaking? Your own cite clearly states that PFN was sued for misrepresenting their ownership and scummy billing practices. Being a telephone psychic is not a crime.

Madam Cleo was charged with deceptive advertising, billing and collection practices.

Fortune Tellers and Psychics have been chased out of small towns for decades. Houdini proved they were frauds over 100 years ago. They scam every penny from vulnerable, hurting people. People so desperate to hear from a departed loved one that they will pay any amount of money. Giving them a Nationwide audience for their cons is just appalling.

This is no different from me doing commercials for a magic elixir that will make you live to 150. I can’t do that without proof that it works. They’d throw me in prison.

First of all, people advertise “nutritional supplements” with all kinds of dubious claims all the time, without going to prison. But they generally stay away from specific claims like “you will live to 150.”

Secondly, I doubt you’ll find any TV psychics making any particularly specific claims about the accuracy or results of their service.

There’s usually some small print stating “For entertainment purposes only”.

Exactly which laws are you suggesting these new companies are breaking?

I’m not sure. I’ve always heard Fortune Tellers were considered illegal in many places. It’s one of the classic cons. Houdini and The Amazing Randi both spent considerable time debunking them.

The biggest issue is Fraud. The idea behind the con is to gain the marks trust. So they come back repeatedly and continue giving money. The Amazing Randi does lectures on how these cons are run on college campuses regularly.

The disclaimer they issue on tv doesn’t change anything. The people foolish enough to give these people money obviously believe in this stuff. It’s not light entertainment or a game to them.

I recall a fortune teller set up shop in my hometown. Claiming she was a gypsy. :rolleyes: The cops busted her place a few times until she finally moved on to another town and another bunch of marks.

Penn & Teller debunk a Fortune Teller and Tarot Cards. Great confession of a former con.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQZ0JSfSEQ4

Found this law article and some cases.
http://faculty.law.lsu.edu/ccorcos/biblio/fortune%20telling%20and%20the%20law.htm

http://www.fortunetellinglaws.com/?p=30

http://law.onecle.com/new-york/penal/PEN0165.35_165.35.html

Looks like these con artists are hiding behind the First Amendment. There’s been several Federal court challenges against state laws.

This article from the UK is interesting. They have included regulations for fortune tellers in their consumer protection laws.

These people can destroy entire families. All it takes is one gullible mark to get an entire families life savings wiped out by these con artists. Hiding behind the First Amendment makes me sick.