A San Bernardino County woman was in police custody Wednesday for allegedly embezzling $9,000 from a client of her storefront psychic business.
Cindy Uwanawich, 56, of Crestline, is the owner of a storefront business on Lake Drive in Crestline known as the Psychic Door, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
On Dec. 17, 2012, Uwanawich told the victim she had the spirit of a person who had drowned attached to her and if she gave her nine pennies, nine nickles, nine dimes, nine quarters and $9,000.00 for nine days the spirit would be removed.
The victim gave Uwanawich a large sum of cash with the promise it would be returned. Uwanawich did not retrurn the funds, according to deputies.
A bit of magical numerology is going on with this scam. 9-9-9-9. Did it make the client/victim feel like it was more powerful or genuine since it sounded magical? In this case we see the importance of the victim buying into a superstitious worldview. What would the reason be that a spirit would be made to go away by that plan? From our perspective it seems ridiculous that anyone could fall for it but when a person is having life trouble, any help, even magical help, seems worthwhile to try. And, a lot of little steps take you a long ways away from rational decisions after a while.
The best thing you can to stop such crimes is to tell people they happen. Prime them to expect that they might be conned in this way. That will raise the awareness so they pause, perhaps long enough to step away from psychic scams.