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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Police Warn Residents of Weird Chinese Ghost Scams

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 4:26 PM

click to enlarge Suspect 1
  • Suspect 1

San Francisco police issued a warning to residents in the Sunset District -- primarily Chinese women, who have become the targets of bizarre fraud schemes involving ghosts, bracelets, and purifying rituals.

According to the SFPD, there have been a number of reported incidents where three Chinese women who speak Cantonese have allegedly ripped off jewelery and money from their victims. In one instance, a woman was approached by a Chinese woman who asked her if she knew where a herbal doctor was in the area. The second suspect, overhearing the conversation, approached the two and explained that she knew where to find a herbal doctor. Another suspect told the three women she was the daughter of the doctor, and could help.

The third suspect, who is not pictured here, then told the victim that she was cursed and had a ghost attached to her; she advised her to be "purified" along with all her valuables. Believing this to be true, the victim went to her home and bank, collected her valuables, and came back to the "herbal doctor."

The third suspect put the items in a bag, and claimed to be performing a ritual over the sack of valuables. The suspects finally gave the woman back the bag, but told her not to look inside just yet, otherwise she would ruin the purifying ritual. What's more, the woman told her if she did talk to anyone about it, the ghost would attach to that other person.

When the unfortunate victim later opened the bag, she found scraps of newspaper -- and we all know that's worth nothing.

click to enlarge Suspect 2
  • Suspect 2
In another case, the same three suspects duped another victim. The first Chinese woman was approached by a woman wearing a jade bracelet. While she struck up a conversation with the victim, the second suspect walked up to them and commented on the bracelet, saying it was both "good luck and worth a lot of money," according to police. She went on, telling the two women that her family has benefited from the bracelet, bringing them good jobs and clearing their debt.

The third suspect then approached the women, also raving about the bracelet, and then offered to purchase it. The victim -- realizing how "valuable " this bracelet was offered to buy it, according to police.

The moral of this story: Don't speak to anyone who is offering good fortune or suggesting their valuables be "purified."

Anyone with information on these cases are requested to contact the Financial Crimes Unit at 553-1521.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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