San Francisco police are warning the Chinese community about a series of ongoing scams targeting older Chinese victims, police said Friday.
Police said they have received information that scammers have recently entered the country and may be targeting the area.
There have been several reported scam incidents reported since October.
Police said there have been reports of Cantonese-speaking suspects approaching victims and telling them about a doctor who has the ability to cure a variety of diseases.
Other suspects, one acting as a doctor, then approach the victim and tell the victim she is suffering from an illness and is under a curse that will adversely impact her loved ones.
The suspects then tell the victim she must present the doctor with valuables to be “blessed.”
Police said the suspects then convince the victim to bring a bag of valuables containing currency and jewelry to a nearby street, where the “blessing” is performed.
The suspects, through sleight of hand, give the victim back a bag containing worthless items and tell the victim not to look inside the bag for a specified time or the “blessing” will be invalidated.
Police are asking members of the Chinese community to be suspicious of strangers claiming to provide relief from a curse or provide “purification” ceremonies using cash and valuable items as part of the process.
Anonymous tips about the scams can be left on the police department’s tip line at (415) 553-9219.
Dennis Culver, Bay City News