TV "psychics" are stock photos


77 Responses to “TV "psychics" are stock photos”

  1. pjk says:

    IT DOES NOT FUCKING BEG THE QUESTION. God. Need another drink.

  2. giantasterisk says:

    Back in the early 1990s, my freshman roommate in college had a part-time job posing as a phone psychic. She took all her calls in our dorm room on a shared phone line. She liked the job okay, but she enjoyed her soft-core phone sex job more.

  3. Lemoutan says:

    How on earth can TV3 let this deplorable scam be aired and stand over this? It must be stopped from broadcasting and the money (€60 in some cases) returned to the callers.

    Stop broadcasting it? Return money? Are you insane? You’d have to stop all sorts of advice sold by unqualified professionals based on any kind of mythology. Where would it end?

  4. soapdish says:

    If you believe that psychics are real then it’s just a question of a fool and their money….

    • Sometimes idiots need to be protected from themselves for the sake of their dependents.

    • nixiebunny says:

      Fools who can’t read, that is. It does say, right there in the upper left corner of the screen, “Entertainment service”.

    • CH says:

      Well… the text makes it at least sound like the guy was expecting “real” psychics, and was upset only after realizing they were stock photos.

      “It really begs the question who are you talking to?”
      Who was he expecting them to be talking to? Harry Potter?

      Unfortunately a lot of people do believe in psychics and will pay money to any random person that claims to be one.

      • Finnagain says:

         I would like to point out that I am psychic and you should all pay me.

        • mortdieu says:

           Happily. If you’re genuine, you’ll have no problems getting my credit card number.

          • Finnagain says:

             Excellent! I just needed your authorization.

          • niktemadur says:

            Oh yeah, mister psychic guy, if you’re so clairvoyant, wouldn’t you already know what the Paypal login and password are?

            Oh man, hold on, I’m having a thought… psychic + Ouija board = metaphysical hacker!

  5. Abe Lincoln says:

    I don’t mean to sound unsympathetic to those who are getting fleeced…  but really?  How brainless do you have to be to think you can call someone and for 5$ they’ll tell you the future?  I don’t really see this as much different than the “Praise the Lord” crew (Jim Baker etal) that asked people for money on God’s behalf.  My long standing question has always been “if they’re really psychic  why aren’t they calling you?”  

    • puppybeard says:

      Funny thing about fraud, it’s only perpetrated on people who fall for it.

    • stupocalypto says:

      A lot of these people are vulnerable, the debate being whether society has a responsibility to them or not. Interesting to draw the parallel with religion though, as that could oft be described as people taking money off of vulnerable.

      Or there’s the less patronising but more selfish argument, that people are allowed to spend their money on what they want, and if it provides some sort of emotional comfort to them, then it’s a win-win situation.

      • I see it kind of like placebos (as in accidental placebos, not ‘genuine’ prescribed ones), and I find myself on the fence a lot. They (like this) does actually help people, just in its own weird psychological way. But at the same time it can harm people, by deception, false promises etc. especially in more serious cases.

        It’s a toughy, for my at least.

        • stupocalypto says:

          I find it my duty to bluntly tell my auntie what I think of psychics and a lot of spritualists, in terms of their financial intentions, but at the same time don’t want to crush her spirit, as she rests a lot of emotional baggage on the cushion of religion/spiritualism. I don’t even know if it’s as simple as being cruel to be kind, as painful as it is to watch people with little money give to to cynical bastards. Ah, the quandary of neoliberalist capitalism…

          • I think that I finally convinced my mum that the concept of an afterlife is a bit silly.
            As soon as I realised what I’d done I regretted it. Decades of eye rolling and snide remarks, all to crush an innocent belief that probably gave her some kind of comfort – all to win a completely meaningless argument.

    • Snig says:

      Based on aquaintances:  my guess is that at one point they had a friend/loved one who was either wise or intuitive, and they collated it as them being psychic.   That person isn’t in their life anymore, or they are but they aren’t giving them the answers they want, so they reach out to a “pro”.    And from an economic standpoint, probably cheaper than getting therapy. As has often been said, no one’s ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the general public.

  6. Daneel says:

    In more positive fraud-related news, hopefully homeopathy is in its final well-deserved death throes in the UK.

  7. John says:

    “How on earth can TV3 let this deplorable scam be aired and stand over this? It must be stopped from broadcasting and the money (€60 in some cases) returned to the callers.”

    It’s a business. They make money with it. That’s why. They get paid for it. By the people that call in and get scammed, yes, but they get paid.

    The same problem has been running rampant in German TV as well for the last few years. It turns out that these things just are the best way for commercial TV stations to make money if they don’t have the viewers or the market share. (If I remember well from my time in Ireland nearly everyone had access to the much more diverse and better British channels in addition to the Irish ones, so the local channels did not only have to compete with their own domestic rivals). Anything else costs money and might not earn them their money back.

    Last time I was visiting my parents in Germany I was appalled and slightly fascinated by the sheer amount of stations that are dedicated solely to scamming people like that. There were at least four stations which did nothing but try to sell esoteric services or goods among all those which just advertised sex hotlines.

  8. CSBD says:

    The only thing that will make this go away is a cheaper alternative.
    A couple of cases:
    1.  Phone Sex lines $4.99 per min- early 1990s free internet porn (pix only) killed it.
    2.  Phone chat/party lines $2.99 per min – Late 1990s  chat rooms like Yahoo Chat, AOL, MSN etc. killed it, they were free.

    The best way to get rid of phone/tv psychics is to make an iPhone app that does it for free.

    “Siri… why am I such a retard?”  “Because you believe in bullshit”
    “Siri…  why does my life suck?”  “Because you got a liberal arts degree and married a harpy”

    Wow… that would have taken $50 + staying up all night to figure out with a “Psychic”

    • scav says:

      Yeah. And $0.01 homeopathic pills, and markov-generated horoscopes. All guaranteed to work at least as well as the more expensive alternatives.

      What amazes me about this article is that somewhere out there, there is probably someone who would take advice from a telephone psychic but not if their photo was fake. Just… wow.

      Also, the intersection of that demographic with boingboing readers is probably a very small subset of the world’s population.

  9. Steve White says:

    They knew this was going to happen.

  10. Franklin says:

    As others have pointed out, the fact that these are stock photos is less of a problem than the fact PSYCHICS DON’T EXIST

  11. Eark_the_Bunny says:

    Just people desperate for answers.  People want to know.  Vulnerable people.  That and a bunch of bastards willing to take advantage of such people.

  12. kansas says:

    Next you’re going to try to tell me the angels don’t put the stars up with scotch tape.

  13. Oh, I wouldn’t get so upset about it, it’s just their austerity-version of Mad Men. 

  14. fasterthantheworld says:

    Not for nothing, but how bored do you have to be to feel you have to prove that tv psychics are frauds?

  15. You mean psychics aren’t real? I’m shocked, my entire world has been turned upside down.

  16. Hakuin says:

    think of it as evolution in action

  17. Colin Curry says:

    The suggestion here is that the people calling in are vulnerable/gullible or some combination of the two. I would guess that some actually enjoy it and they don’t really take it very seriously. If there were evidence that the users of psychic hotlines were more vulnerable than the public at large, then I could see something being done. People waste money on all sorts of useless shit that’s really just an escape from reality.

  18. I think this probably falls under ‘entertainment’. I assume this is how Fox gets away with its ‘news’ programme.

  19. Surely the central part of the con-trick is that they proclaim to be “psychics” – the usage of stock photos is merely a bit of furnishing inside their castles in the air.

  20. Mister44 says:

    A scam? Who could have foreseen that?

    ETA – Houdini is turning in his grave that we still fall for ‘psychics’.

  21. OrchestraSpy says:

    Psychic phenomenon exists! Happens to me all the time. It’s embedded in my Alpha-male DNA, you other players know what I’m saying. The lifespan is a mere 5 seconds into the future. No not like that Nick Cage movie.

    • R. Emmet Lee says:

      It’s all in the mastery of words.

  22. Ryan Lenethen says:

    Are you trying to tell me that TV Psychics are charlatans? Balderdash!

  23. Wait, so the ads for television psychics aren’t true? Mind blown!

  24. hellishmundane says:

    weird, my astrologist didn’t warn me to avoid TV psychics.  possibly my humors are out of balance. time for another session with the scarificator at the local barber shop.

  25. Uncle Geo says:

    Psychics not real? Reminds me of that pillar of journalistic integrity, John “Greed is Good” Stossel and his Pulitzer-worthy expose on professional wrestling:

    Whodathunk wrestling wasn’t real!?

  26. OtherMichael says:

    If somebody was prescient enough to sell their photo to a stock agency and then get hired by a company using photos from that agency… they must know what they will be talking about.

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