The San Francisco Police Department is warning the Chinese community after three suspects scammed an Asian woman out of $5,000 in the Sunset District during a blessing scam on July 11.
The scam is familiar to The City as victims of the scam throughout the years have lost thousands of dollars and valuables. Victims are usually convinced by scammers that a relative or close a family member is sick or may have bad luck. Scammers would then tell the victim that they need to bring a large sum of cash and sometimes jewelry to be blessed or cleansed in order to get rid of the illness or bad luck.
In the most recent case, the victim was first approached by an Asian woman who asked the victim if she knew of a healing salon. A second male suspect, pretending to walk by, offered to use the GPS on his cellphone to look for the healing salon.
The suspects convinced the victim to walk near a car where an older male suspect approached them. All three suspects convinced the victim that she had cancer. The victim gave $5,000 believing they had a cure for her cancer, according to a press statement from SFPD.
All three suspects said they would return with some of her money later in the day, but they never returned.
SFPD is advising people to be suspicious of strangers offering any of blessing or cleansing ceremony in order to cure an illness, in return of cash or valuables:
“Potential victims are strongly advised to contact police immediately if confronted with such a situation. Children and caregivers to elder Chinese community members should discuss this scam with them and instruct the elders to call them if anyone approaches them under similar circumstances.”
The public can contact SFPD anonymously about such incidents at (415) 575-4444, or text a tip to TIP411 and begin the text with SFPD.