Mind & Body

Does your psychic google you before a reading? We investigate.


The desire to know what the future holds is strong, so if you’re going to invest time and money into a psychic reading you want to ensure that the information you get is accurate. 

When it comes to what we buy, what we eat and how we spend our spare time, most of us put in a little bit of legwork. We research the options and pick the one that looks like the best fit. Turns out that’s the same criteria we should be following when it comes to picking out a psychic, according to one of social media’s most popular fortune-tellers.

Cael O’Donnell, 25, is a psychic medium with 480,000 followers on TikTok who wants to warn people about spotting, and avoiding, psychic scams.

His biggest tip is booking under an alias, so they can’t do any stalking before the session. We reveal a lot of our lives on social media and it could be used to fake insights into our futures.

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It’s what he did recently. “I went to the eighth page of Google, because a lot of people in the Australian psychic society know me, so I wanted to find someone totally unbiased who didn’t know me. I found someone in the UK, I went under an alias called Jay and it was spot-on,” he says. “They brought through information about my life, they didn’t need to know my first name. Go with an alias, if they’re a real psychic, they’ll still pick up information about you without knowing your name, and then they don’t scroll your social media to try and find information about you.”

O’Donnell believes that the fear of being scammed thanks to social-media stalking is one of the reasons people don’t have readings, but reputable intuitives aren’t doing a speedy Google search on you just before a session.

“Our lives are so much on social media and when we give a name we think that everything in the psychic reading has just been pulled from social media, so I think using an alias will help the public remove that fear a little bit,” he says. According to research firm IBIS people seek out psychics more during times of uncertainty – like a pandemic. Whether it’s astrology, aura readings or mediumship, the industry is projected to be worth $2.2 billion in the US alone.

And the projected growth rather for 2021 is 2.6% compared to an annualized rate of 0.5% from 2015-2020.

O’Donnell says a reputable reader will not bombard you with leading questions, only those requiring a yes or no answer to ensure they’re on the right track.

“We use a term in the industry, don’t feed the psychic. I won’t ask you to tell me where you were born, it’s ‘Were you born in Ballarat?’ and then it would be a yes or no answer, to show that I’ve got that information there and just validating it,” he says. “Any good psychic will say at the beginning, ‘I don’t need a lot from you. I just rely on spirit so try not to tell me too much information’.”

Another thing to be wary of is talk of death or sickness.

“If that’s brought up in a reading, you know that’s a total obvious scam,” O’Donnell says. “I feel as though when we serve spirit, we’re doing it from an intention of love and of hope. I think that, maybe more death and sickness, is an unwritten rule that I don’t believe can be picked up by psychics. If they’re imposing fear mongering, they’ll say, ‘I know you’re going to get sick, but you’ll have to pay $300 to come back to me because I’m going to break that sickness from happening’ that’s a telltale sign. If they tell you that you’re cursed and only they can fix it, that’s a scam.”

O’Donnell was constantly being asked how to tell if a reading was a potential scam, so he came up with the acronym G.I.F.T which stands for guarantee, information, favour and trusting your gut.

“I feel like any reputable psychic will offer a refund policy. It may not be a 100% refund, maybe it’s a percentage back,” he says.

“I think that it’s important for information to be available about what they’re actually going to do for you. There’s different types of psychics out there and it’s good to have information of what you’re going to receive. Will I receive a soulmate reading about a loved one that I have with regards to a relationship, or do you mainly focus on medium readings which is where you connected with my past loved ones who have crossed over? You want to answer the question, ‘What is the psychic going to do for me and what am I buying here?’ rather than go in and then realize, ‘Oh you don’t connect with loved ones’.”

Favour is the next one, which comes down to real reviews. O’Donnell recommends checking out Facebook and Google reviews, which are much harder to fake. “I’ve been on many psychics’ websites and they have copied and pasted reviews onto their website,” he says.

“If you can see other people have had successful experiences it shows that person is somewhat good at what they do. On my Instagram I post short 15-second snippets of real readings, where it’s been accurate to just show that there’s some form of favor there.“We’re all intuitive and we’re all spiritual, so it’s important to just trust your intuition and your inner knowing. If you feel like they’re maybe not the right psychic for you or it’s the wrong time for you to go connect with a reading, you’re probably right.”

Cael O’Donnell is an Australian psychic medium currently touring NSW, SA and Victoria.