And Other Things Legit Readers DON’T Do
Karina Lafayette – March 2022
Photo by Wyron A on Unsplash
Everyday it’s the same thing. I scroll through Instagram for my daily dose of uplifting quotes and statements, as well as quick videos from people in the spiritual community that I follow. And everyday there is at least one person in their comments asking, “I got a message from you offering a reading.”
And if it isn’t such comment, there is at least one phony account with a username similar to an actual reader that either starts following me, or attempts to slide into my dm’s. Most recently on Tiktok, there was an account that tried to follow me using the name of Michele Knight, who is an acclaimed astrologer. Just last week on Instagram, the same thing happened, where a fake account had followed me using the name of Rick Levine, who’s also been a part of the community for decades.
So many good, hard-working people keep having their names used by fake accounts on social media, where the person will pretend to be them and claim to offer readings just so potential clients give them money. As someone who also does astrology readings, I am absolutely over these fraudsters attempting to tarnish the names of talented astrologers, psychics, and sometimes even artists, all because they’re looking to make a quick buck. And oh, no, it isn’t limited to spiritually-aimed accounts. Almost everytime a writer or social media influencer even launches a contest, it isn’t long before they experience the same thing. Regardless of the type of account that gets cloned, the end goal from the person is always one thing: money. Look, we get it, you’re probably coming from a place of struggle. You probably have some valid reasons for doing this in order to get by. And while empathy is a strong suit for people like me, I frankly don’t give a fuck what that reason is. Why? Because I’ve been a part of this community long enough to know how hard people work in order to build a reputation for themselves. All the hours we put in through networking and promoting. I also know that an astrologer worth their salt doesn’t go around sending direct messages in order to draw a client, and the same goes for a lot of folks.
Even online businesses rarely take the time to direct message someone. Because yes, while spiritual work is quite different, there is still an element of professionalism that comes with it, and making it seem like we’re all up in people’s dm’s is the opposite of that. The motto is and always has been, “If you build it, they will come.” So I already understand that when someone wants a reading, they have the freewill to approach me. Approaching someone first can be seen as an invasion of digital privacy and puts them in situations where they might get into something they don’t want to be a part of. Spirituality is sacred, and that’s why a reader doesn’t reach out first.
It’s truly frustrating that so many I follow have to go on Instagram live or post stories clarifying that once again, they aren’t the ones dm-ing people. It’s even more shitty when you think the potential support they lose because of frausters who feel the need to hide behind someone else’s good name. The Trap Witch made a post several weeks ago where she got upset, because some people actually thought she was the one behind an account that frauded them. I don’t think those who do this realize how for a lot of us, it’s a full-time gig. This is not something done part-time as a hobby. I spend a good amount of my time either writing blogs or poems, working on readings, or prepping posts for social media, no matter where the job situation is at simultaneously. It’s not a game to us. It’s legitimate work.
The outside world already sees it as a game and while it’s one thing to be laughed at by someone who claims they don’t “believe” in astrology, it’s a whole other when a person who put their trust in your brand got a message from a fake that was using the same name. I’ve had people ask me repeatedly just what I do as well as all the steps involved, because they’re afraid of being scammed. So if it’s a joke on the part of social media to try and find ways to indirectly discredit our community, we aren’t laughing anymore.
Just last summer, there was also a situation where a fake account using the name of a famous actor tried to message me. They went so far as to give an email and everything, while I sat behind my keyboard pretending to go along just to see how far they would take it. Not to mention, my inbox has been filled with the usual, “I feel drawn to your energy. Do you want a reading?” almost every day. Instagram doesn’t seem to acknowledge the harm nor have any interest in making a customer service that is reachable to complain to, so as usual, the best thing you can do is report, block, and hope for the best.
How much more does this need to happen before the real people are at risk of being shadowbanned, or have their original accounts taken down, because too many fraudsters used their name? Apparently, on social media, censoring posts with too many eff words or nudity, is somehow more important than protecting the rights of anyone who’s running a small business, or simply trying to share their spiritual insights with the world. There should be a filter that makes it so not only is it impossible to have two users of the same name, even one letter off won’t be accepted. At this point, I’d advocate for people to have to prove their identity before daring to make a similar account, so that way clone accounts can go exactly where they belong: in the trash.
Until a solution eventually comes to light, what can you do to recognize these fraudsters?
- If an account follows you that is almost identical to an account you already follow, look at the username. If it’s not the same account that you follow already, then it’s not the same person. (People with multiple accounts usually have them listed)
- If they message you first, ignore it. Most legit astrologers, psychics and mediums don’t message first. It’s unethical.
- If the person claims your spirit guides contacted them, or that they have a very important message that you can’t ignore. Fear mongering is such a big no-no in the community to begin with, legit or not.
- If you book a reading with them and right after you paid, they go AWOL. Before booking with someone, a reader will try to give a timeline and make sure you know everything. Delays are normal, but what’s not normal is if the account blocks you or stops replying.
- If the account seems like it was recently made but already has a lot of pictures and videos that were added within the past week or days, it’s probably a clone.
- If the account has more following than followers. People in general will rarely have more they are following than being followed, unless their account isn’t associated with some type of service.
That being said, I really don’t know if there is an actual solution to this trend of spam accounts on social media. To be fair, people should be free to have as many as they want, especially if you’re a person like me who has different niches and you don’t want to be confined to one thing. But to take someone else’s name just to make a quick buck, that is honestly low. It would take a serious amount of shadow work and uncomfortable truths to make someone like this come to their senses. Nevertheless, it already took so long to get to a place where people feel comfortable enough to share their talents and spiritual insight with the world, we can’t let a few like this prevent more progress. We just have to keep sharing our work in hopes that the people who depend on it see the difference. So I guess the best thing is to do like what we’ve always done, and keep fighting for the light to win over the dark. Because it will. 😉
To check out my books, social media and more, scroll to the main menu above, where you can also get a reading. Also be sure to watch my new short documentary series on the Saturn Return!
This article was originally published on Medium.