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Monday, September 17, 2012

Here's How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of That Weird Chinese Ghost Scam

Posted By on Mon, Sep 17, 2012 at 4:10 PM

click to enlarge ghostbuster2.jpg

Those con artists who've been duping your parents and grandparents out of money and valuables are considered pretty darn good at what they do, which is why it might behoove you to attend tomorrow's community meeting.

The District Attorney's Office is hosting a town hall meeting to teach attendees how to not become the next victim of this so-called Chinese Ghost scam that's plagued San Francisco's Asian community.

"People have said these con artists are so good that there are still people being

victimized," said Officer Albie Esparza.

See our previous coverage on the Asian Ghost Scam

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. Despite those arrests, more victims have come forward as of late, reporting similar incidents.

In all scenarios, the victim -- typically an older Asian woman -- is approached by the suspects, who inform her that she has somehow gotten intertwined with evil spirits, possibly by stepping on blood. The suspects then tell their victim they will perform a "purification ceremony" to rid her of these bad spirits. The victim is instructed to go home, gather all he valuables, and

bring them back to the suspects for the "purification ceremony."

Over the summer, the suspects collected more than $1 million in cash and jewelry from more a handful of victims. The crooks struck again earlier this month, conning a few more women out of $35,000, police said.

The three women who were arrested earlier this summer are scheduled to appear in court next month. However, police say they aren't sure whether the latest string of scams is part of a larger ring, or if it was just a bunch of copycats. "We don't know ... who are the people behind the scenes, who is paying the people to travel the streets, and who is the mastermind behind this," Esparza said.

It's been disconcerting enough to the Asian community that more than 100 people showed up to the DA's last community meeting to discuss the issue back in August. "This has been happening in other jurisdictions across the country, and it's important that people know how to protect themselves," said DA spokesman Alex Bastian.

So head down to the tomorrow's meeting and learn how to hold onto your priceless jewelry. The meeting will be held at the South Sunset Community Center, 2601 40th Ave., at 11 a.m.

And if you have been a victim, call the cops now and report it.

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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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