Earlier this summer, police arrested three women who they believe are responsible for scamming older, Asian women out of money and jewelry by convincing them they had evil spirits attached to them. But those arrests haven't done much to stop these bizarre ghost scams plaguing the San Francisco Asian community.
Over the weekend, two more women -- both of whom are Asian and in their 60s -- were duped out of thousands of dollars after multiple suspects told them they had stepped in blood and, as a result, had wicked spirits attached to them.
The suspects employed their usual M.O., telling the victims they must go home, gather all their valuables, and bring them back to the suspects for a "purification ceremony." Sadly, the women did as instructed, only to find that after the purifying ritual, they were returned empty bags; one victim alone lost $35,000, according to police.
Luckily, one of the incidents, which occurred in Chinatown, was caught on video. It shows a group of four
women switching out one of the bags, then placing it in a different colored bag and walking away, according to police.
Needless to say, these crooks are "very confident" in their abilities.
"New incidents of elder scams this weekend show that the suspects will
go to great lengths to steal money from unsuspecting elderly Chinese
women. My office is working closely with SFPD on these cases," said
District Attorney George Gascón. "The best way to stop these scams is to educate the community on how they
can protect themselves."
To be sure, the D.A.'s Office is hosting another community
meeting is on Sept. 18 at 11 a.m. at the South Sunset Community Center to talk to folks about these culprits and how to avoid becoming their next target. "We hope people
will learn about these scams and educate their friends and family so we
can prevent more people from being victimized," Gascón said in a statement.
Police are looking into whether the latest cases are connected to prior ones, which netted more than $1 million in stolen goods from several victims. Anyone with information should call the department's Cantonese language hotline at 553-9212.
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