On the Trail

Dr. Phil confirms that the 800 number his viewers have been calling is connected to a psychic shop on Alabama Street in Houston, Texas. He sends four staff members undercover to try and get some answers.


Private investigator Harold Copus gives his surveillance team their instructions. "In our meeting with Houston PD, a couple of things came up. We're dealing with, in their words, an organized crime group," Harold says. "They tell us that our scammers are four women."


Two stingers, Dawn and Amanda, are outfitted with technical equipment before they head inside the psychic shop. John, from the surveillance team, explains that the stingers will provide documentation of what's going on inside the shop, as well as alert the team if they need help.

After leaving the palm reader's shop, the stingers detail what went on. Amanda explains that she observed a woman named Nancy, whom she identified from a surveillance photograph.


Harold asks, "Anything sound like what you heard last night on the tape?"

"Yes," Amanda says. "Nancy's voice sounded like the husky voice on the phone. Just like Cher."  

"We believe the woman with the husky voice who called herself ‘Nancy' is ‘Cher,' the same woman who answers the 800 number, and claims to be the director of my show," Dr. Phil elaborates. "We sent our stingers, Amanda and Chastity, back to the psychic shop on Alabama Street to confirm our suspicions."

While the stingers are inside the psychic shop, private investigator Harold Copus makes a call to the scammers. The phone rings inside the psychic shop. The voice on the answering machine sounds like Nancy, aka "Cher." Says Harold Copus, "I think we're sitting on the right location."

Once Chastity and Amanda leave the palm reader's shop, they are debriefed about their experiences. "A woman answered the door. She identified her name as Anna," Chastity says. Anna is believed to be "Ann Lee," the name some Dr. Phil viewers have been wiring money to via Western Union.

Holding up a business card, Amanda says, "This would be the card she gave me that she wrote her phone number on, her personal cell phone number for Anna." Amanda told Anna that she was in town for a bachelorette party, and asked if Anna could do a group reading. Anna agreed.

The next morning, Harold tells his sting operation, "This is the next-to-last day, so we're down to lots of activity." Turning to Amanda, he says, "This morning, 10:00, you start your call into our house on Alabama [Street] where the scammers are working."

Amanda expresses her concerns. "The only thing that I was thinking, Harold, is we don't really know what we're walking into. We could really be walking into the lion's den," she says. 

Amanda makes another phone call to Anna to confirm the bachelorette party. "My friends want to hire a few people. How many people do you have?"

"There's about five of us," Anna replies. 


Amanda makes an appointment for noon the next day.


"Tomorrow is our showdown day," Harold announces to his team. "We're running a scam on them. They're going to do some palm reading at a bachelorette party. We're going to keep their mind busy and away from thinking they're under any observation."


Harold learns that two Western Union wires his team sent to the scammers were just picked up. "They obviously were not picked up by anybody [on Alabama Street]. Now, we just have to watch these people and see if they go meet with somebody, and if any money changes hands," he says. "I'm trying to nail down one last piece, and that's take the voice of Cher, who keeps answering the phone for the Dr. Phil show, and nail her voice to a photograph."