Cover art for podcast The Perfect Scam

The Perfect Scam

113 EpisodesProduced by AARPWebsite

AARP’s weekly podcast The Perfect ScamSM tells the stories of people who find themselves the target of a scam. Host Bob Sullivan introduces listeners to those who have experienced scams firsthand, as well as professional con artists and leading experts who pull back the curtain on how scammers opera… read more


The Hidden World of Psychic Scams, Part 2

After losing her job and boyfriend in the same day, a distraught Debra pays a visit to a psychic shop. Little does Debra know that the shop is part of a larger criminal organization and Sylvia, the psychic who gives her a reading, is a scammer. After a series of readings of increasing cost, Sylvia tells Debra that all of her troubles stem from her trust issues surrounding money. To solve these problems Sylvia prompts Debra to hand over a $28,000 check — to prove that she trusts others with her money. Sylvia promises to hold on to the check and return it the next day. However, Sylvia immediately cashes the check and cuts off all communication with Debra.  

Debra tries a number of ways to get her money back — including contacting the police — to no avail. Eventually Debra is referred to Bob Nygard, a private investigator and retired police officer who specializes in helping victims of psychic scams. Debra tells Bob about her case, and he agrees to take it on. Bob works to chase down the facts, trying to get Debra justice. He finds that Sylvia has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from victims. It takes five years, but Bob finally gathers enough evidence to take down Sylvia.  

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