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zensky's avatar

Fakes and frauds whom you've encountered - tales of interest and warnings to the naive?

Asked by zensky (13294 points ) November 22nd, 2012

It could be the naturopath or the swami. The shaman or the tea-leaf reader. Maybe it was a life-coach or perhaps a shiatsu massage that left you wondering – and slightly poorer.

I am sure there are legit practitioners in all of the above categories and do not mean to single anyone out – or imply anything.

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16 Answers

cheebdragon's avatar

My mom’s friend made her go to some psychic with her, I guess she was trying to prove how legit this lady was. well the psychic ended up telling mom that “you have nothing to worry about, your husband wouldn’t cheat on you”.....and about a month later my mom found out he had been having an affair with one of my babysitters. My parents divorced shortly after that scandal.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@cheebdragon ouch.
My mother in law is devoted to “her” psychic, and once forced me to go. (I had to pay her myself, too, which ticked me off – because I have never believed in psychics in the first place.) Anyhow, this lady told me that within the year I would be pregnant, and that my husband would leave me. That was like, I dunno, 5–6 years ago now, and nothing she predicted happened.
Not that it mattered what she said, I took it as entertainment, but I was really pissed that I had to pay cash for some stranger to tell me that I was going to unexpectedly get pregnant and divorced.

ragingloli's avatar

Never trust psychics, astrologists, chiropractors, homeopaths, fortune tellers, faith healers, self proclaimed “nutrionists” or “scholars”, priests, preachers and other child molesters, in general anyone that dabbles in the supernatural, pseudoscience and other assorted quackery.
Frauds, every single one of them.

tedibear's avatar

On the night of my now ex-husband’s bachelor party, my best friend dragged me off to a psychic. Just for the heck of it, I took off my engagement ring. Understand that I was a bit overweight at the time, I’m not particularly attractive and I wasn’t wearing any make-up. The psychic told me to not worry that I didn’t have a significant other yet and that my time would come. LoL! All one week before my wedding.

wildpotato's avatar

Skeezy-lookin people approach me all the time in grocery store parking lots and when I’m getting gas to offer to fix the dent in my car for $200. This is a common scam. If I have the time, I act really friendly and interested while noting down their license plate and physical descriptions. They usually ask me what I’m doing at that point, and I’ll cheerfully tell them I’m going to report them to the police. Then they undergo a complete change of demeanor and curse at me while peeling out of the parking lot.

snowberry's avatar

Several medical doctors I’ve encountered who admitted they had no clue what my problem was, but were willing to prescribe any number of prescriptions (with all their lovely side effects) to “solve” the problem.

Oh, and an obstetrician who insisted I’d never be able to give birth naturally. (I have had 5 babies naturally since then. I am glad I didn’t bother to listen to him!)

Jaxk's avatar

I have one of those magic 8-balls that gives you a Yes or No answer to any question. I occasionally have to reshake it if I don’t get the answer I like but other than that one caveat, it has a very good track record. I guess the real trick is to know when to reshake it.

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t have a people fraud, but a travel contest scam. They advertised a free vacation and all I had to do was pay a $45 fee to cover the taxes and incidentals, and it was 100% refundable. Of course I won – everybody does. I sent the money, but every time I asked for a reservation, they said that date was not available. I finally said give me any date that is available and I will take it. They replied that I had to request a date – they couldn’t assign one.

So…...finally I asked for a refund of my fee and the reply came back that it is only refundable AFTER you take the vacation, if you are not satisfied.

Lightlyseared's avatar

One of my personal favourites is the Apple Cider Vinegar Gallstone Cleanse. Anywhere on the internet when someone asks about gallstones it won’t be long before the someone mentions apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has had numerous claims made about it but there is little actual evidence to back up most of them (except the one about it being a good salad dressing – that one’s true). What’s particularly interesting about the gallstone cleanse is that unlike a lot of detox diets and what have you, it is an actual con. Part of the regime has you taking large doses of Epsom salts with olive oil which along with the gallons of apple cider vinegar it has drinking is supposed to force your gallbladder to expel gallstones which you will then see floating in the toilet after a day or two of diarrhoea. What actually happens is the Epsom salts and the oil form little balls of soap in your stomach that look like gallstones but are nothing of the sort (real gallstones don’t float for a start).

ETpro's avatar

I’m in @ragingloli, @tedibear & @Lightlyseared‘s camp. They have a word for naturopathy that actually works in double-blind studies. It’s called medical science.

Really good swamis and fortune tellers are skilled at reading faces and emotions. They pick up on nostrils flaring, pupils dilating or constricting, even pulse beats in temples. They start with very generic patter and follow the visual ques the mark gives them so that soon they are talking about things that ring true and are very meaningful, and the mark thinks they are channeling some spirit being, family ghost or angel. Most of them are lousy even at those skills and just rattle off something they think you’ll like to hear.

snowberry's avatar

@ETpro yes, I’ve had a few doctors like that too, unfortunately. LOL

ETpro's avatar

@snowberry No profession is totally free from fraud. You may not believe it, but a few politicians even fit the bill.

snowberry's avatar

@ETpro Actually, I’ve met very few medically oriented doctors I’d trust. Mostly I have ended up sorry I went, spending money I shouldn’t have on services I wish I had not agreed to receive. So now I go to holistic practitioners whenever possible. I’m happier that way.

ETpro's avatar

@snowberry Wholistic medicine combines a handful if things that may actually work, although that largely remains unproven, with patter, totem and taboo that does wonders with those easily led about and vulnerable to the placebo effect. But if it works for you, placebo healing is every bit as useful as the cures modern medical science hands out. The difference is treatments used by modern medicine had been proven in double-blind testing to work with a statistically higher regularity than holistic, placebo-driven treatments.

Paradox25's avatar

I think that psychic phenomena is real, and despite not always being accurate have helped many people. Why don’t the sceptics ask the actual law enforcement individuals involved in cases that were solved where the police were helped by mediums? There are many frauds out there unfortunately, and I would recommend avoiding tv or 1–900 psychics. Personally I’m glad that many 1–900 psychics have been banned in some states. As far as alternative medicine/treatments go I’m sceptical of most, but I try not to be too close minded. I’m convinced that colon cleansing and water ionizer salesman are frauds. However I’m not entirely trusting of something just because it’s mainstream either. I’ve already posted several questions on here in which studies have shown some alternative protocols to be at least as effective as orthodox treatments, but yet 10 years later I’ve heard nothing come from them. I try to avoid having the conspiracy theorist mindset, but I also try to avoid the irrational rationalist mindset too.

ETpro's avatar

@Paradox25 Not that is the least bit fair, but the lack of follow up on holistic treatments is driven by corporate P&L. It cost hundreds of millions of dollars to prove efficacy in clinical trials. Big pharma companies aren’t going to invest that sort of cash in technologies already in the public domain. And small holistic cure manufacturers simply do not have the resources it would take to test their own products. That leaves the market wide open to fraudsters.

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