“It’s good you came to me. The cards reveal the source of your troubles. A generational curse has been passed on to you. Not of your fault, but you have it. Things will only get worse unless it is broken. I can break it. But it will not be quick, or cheap. I have a candle that you can use to protect you, but it must be bought to be effective…” Tarot scams are like computer repair scams. They work only on those that never do either for themselves.
Taking advantage of superstition and Hollywood drama, the scam artist depends on the mark (the would-be victim) being ignorant of tarot cards, the possible meanings, and the history of the imagery. If the mark has no means of vetting the reading, the scammer can use cold-reading techniques to play to the mark’s anxiety and say whatever works to separate the mark from their money. The cards on the table are merely another prop in a carefully orchestrated confidence game.
Vet your readings, online and offline. If your reader will not tell you what cards were drawn, ask why and listen closely to the answer. If the reader tells you they are using a unique set of meanings, ask who wrote them. Some readers (including myself) use a personalized set of meanings that may not be found on the Internet. If you are still unsure about the quality of your reading, get a second opinion! If the cards in the throw were identified, take them to a different reader and ask them if the reading passes the smell test. If not, ask an unconnected reader to review the reading with you.
Tarot is such that if you ask fifty readers how to interpret a three card throw, you’ll get a hundred answers, but most of those answers will be very close to each other if not identical. Each reader sees the subtleties from different points of view.
The Curse of Doom and Gloom scam has been around for as long as there have been oracles, prophets, and omen-readers. If your reader suddenly starts urging you to purchase anything immediately to bring you relief, stop the reading and leave. Some scammers will refer you to a second person to purchase the blessed candle/mojo bag/purification water/sacred herbs from in an attempt to appear legitimate. But the second person is part of the scam.
If your reader ignores your personal religious and spiritual beliefs and practices, and tells you to do something that is contrary to your personal path, stop the reading and leave. It is not the place of the tarot reader to determine what is your personal path or how to walk it. How they interpret the cards will be influenced by their beliefs, but at the end of the reading, your tarot reading is about you. What your reader personally believes should be filtered out of the interpretation before they have even opened their mouth to you.
Ask your tarot reader questions. No matter how much they advertise they are 100% accurate, question them. If there is a part of the reading that confused you, or made you uncomfortable, question it. If you know the cards, and see a different meaning than they did, question them. No tarot reader is infallible. Any that takes offense at your skepticism or questioning is to be left behind.
That’s not to say you have the right to be rude or condescending to your reader. You don’t, and if you are rude to them, they have the right to cease the reading and walk away for themselves. You do have the right to inspect what you have been given, and to vet both reading and reader. So when you encounter that horrible generational curse that has lurked in your bloodline despite your religious observances (or lack thereof), you can stand up with confidence and walk away with your wallet intact.