‘Blessing’ ruse scams Chinese community


San Francisco police are warning about yet another “blessing” scam targeting the Chinese community.
San Francisco police are looking for this woman -- one of three female Cantonese-speaking suspects -- who allegedly scammed a victim out of $80,000 in cash and $40,000 in jewelry on Oct. 2. (via Bay City News)
Two incidents have occurred since Oct. 2, according to the San Francisco Police Department. In one case, a victim reportedly lost $80,000 in cash and $40,000 in jewelry.

In this incident, a woman — the first of three female Cantonese-speaking suspects — approached the victim and told her about a doctor who could cure a variety of diseases.

Then, two other suspects approached the victim.

One suspect, claiming to be the doctor, told the victim she was suffering from an illness and under a curse that would gravely affect her loved ones.

In order to get rid of the curse, the suspect told the victim her valuables and cash needed be “blessed.”

The victim brought her cash and jewelry to the three suspects, who performed the “blessing” on a nearby street. Through sleight of hand, the suspects switched out the bag of valuables with worthless items and handed it to the victim.

The victim was instructed not to look in the bag until a certain amount of time had passed, or the “blessing” would not work.

This is not the first scam of its kind to target the Chinese community.

In January 2013, another “blessing” scam hit the 2500 block of Noriega Street. The victim lost approximately $50,000, according the SFPD. Throughout the year, four scammers were caught and charged with grand theft.

Following the incidents, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon launched a public eduction campaign last year to warn the Chinese community about the scam and to be how to avoid being a victim.

Police are still looking for one of suspects from the Oct. 2 incident.

Tips can be left on the SFPD Anonymous Hotline: 415-553-9212.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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