We regularly hear stories about people that have visited a psychic – or found one online – who has told them something unbelievable or very suspicious. Well, not only something suspicious, but sometimes a dire warning of tragedy that can only be avoided by shelling out large sums of money.

There are definitely some red flags to watch out for when visiting a psychic, or anyone else involved in the metaphysical world. Let’s take a look at a few things you’ll never hear from an honest psychic – and if your psychic or reader tells you any of these, you really need to reconsider paying them any more money.

“You’re possessed by a demon, and I’m the only one who can help you. That’ll be $800, please!”

Sounds crazy? Sure does, but there was a woman not too long ago in my local community who was telling people this very thing. Not only was she telling them they were possessed, but she told them she was the only person in town qualified to help them. And for a few hundred dollars – followed by a few hundred more later on – she’d be happy to exorcise the demons.

And the best part? She warned her clients not to tell anyone else about this, because it might make the demons angry, and then she – the psychic – might not be able to get rid of them! If a psychic or reader pulls this classic bait-and-switch routine, walk out the door and don’t go back.

A variation on this is that you have a curse on you, and this psychic is the only one who can fix it. This doesn’t mean you aren’t cursed – you could be, although it’s unlikely, and you’d usually know it if you were. But if you are, any competent practitioner can help you, not just the individual who’s asking for more money right now.

Often, the issue is not whether the person is a competent psychic, but are they an honest businessperson? Are they asking for a fair amount of compensation for their time and hard-earned skill, or are they demanding you pony up hundreds of dollars, because they are the only one who can help you? Run away. Now.

“Your spouse is cheating on you/trying to kill you/stealing your money.”

Anyone who has ever worked as a psychic or Tarot reader will tell you that there are very few guarantees in the business. A well-trained, intuitive reader can look at a spread of cards and see warnings there, for sure. But they’re usually pretty general, not specific.

While we might see an indication that someone in your life is being less than truthful, or that a person you trust is thinking of betraying you, or even that there’s danger looming on the horizon, the fact is that an honest psychic should never tell you that someone is trying to kill you, because that’s just too specific to narrow down.

Sure, if there’s some news that’s less than spectacular, they should tell you that along with the good stuff, but be very wary of anyone who tells you anything that precise.

“You’ve done a terrible thing! You’ve been very bad! You need to change your ways!”

We sometimes hear about people who are downright distraught after a reading. While it may start out pretty well, by the time it’s over, the reader has scolded and admonished the client for some small lapse in judgment. The client often leaves the place in tears, and goes home feeling like a terrible person, simply because he or she made a mistake at some point in their life, and this particular psychic latched onto that, and wouldn’t let it go.

Here’s the thing. A good psychic isn’t there to judge you. They’re there to offer you a consultation, to help you determine the situation at hand, and figure out what possible solutions may be coming your way. They are not there to point fingers, berate you, or tell you that you ought to be ashamed of yourself. Now, while there are certainly times when a psychic will tell you things you might not like, there’s a difference between being matter-of-fact about a situation, and being hateful. Personal opinions need to be left at the door.

“Oh, no, you have cancer!”

It’s awful that we even have to address this, but there are frequently stories about people who have been told by readers or psychics that they had some terminal disease. One heartbreaking Tumblr post said simply, “A Tarot reader told me I have cancer and I have six months to live. I have three small children. What do I do?”

(Answer: You go to a doctor, and don’t ever return to that reader.)

If a Tarot reader or psychic ever diagnoses you with a specific disease, get up and walk out right then and there. Can a good psychic tell if you (or someone in your family) may be facing illness? Often, yes, and if that’s the case, they should certainly say something along the lines of “I’m concerned that someone in your family may be facing some medical issues. Has everyone had a checkup recently?”

Even if they do pick up on the idea that someone close to you may not be long for this world, no one should ever tell you Grandma is going to be dead by next Tuesday. A far better approach – and more realistic one – is, “Your grandmother is quite elderly. If you’ve ever thought about spending more time with her, now is a good time to do so.”

To tell a client that they have cancer or any other specific disease is just plain irresponsible. It generates fear, and no psychic should be doing that.

Oh, and the Tumblr user quoted above? He went to a doctor, and it turned out – you guessed it – there wasn’t a single thing wrong with him.

“This is the way things are, and there’s nothing you can do to change them!”

Are we victims of fate’s random whims, or do we choose our own destiny? No one can prove either way for sure, but each and every one of us has some degree of control over what happens to us. If you don’t like the way things are going in your life, you have the power to make the necessary changes. You may have to make them slowly, and one at a time, but you can make them.

If a psychic tells you that everything he or she is seeing is etched in stone, and you just have to suck it up and deal, I’d be very skeptical. You have choices, and you get to choose your own path. After all, it’s your journey – you can decide where it leads you.