SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Police Department is alerting the Chinese community of a series of an ongoing scam targeting older Chinese victims to steal things of monetary values. According to a press release from the SFPD, the most recent incident occurred on Monday, August 8, where the victim lost over $40,000 in U.S. currency.

The victim was approached by the first of three female Cantonese-speaking suspects. The first suspect inquired if the victim knew a doctor in the region because a family member had gotten seriously ill. Soon after, the second suspect joined the conversation acknowledging she knows a doctor and persuades the victim to tag along to meet the doctor.

While traveling to meet the doctor, a third suspect approached the women, pretending to be a fortune teller. “This fortune teller told the victim a loved one will be cursed because she will mistakenly step in the blood of another person,” stated the press release.

The fortune teller noted, for the victim to relieve the curse, the victim must present her with valuables to be “blessed.”

The suspects were able to get the victim to bring valuables that included currency and jewelry to a nearby street, where the ‘blessing’ was performed. In the midst of the ‘blessing,’ the suspects swapped the victim’s bag of valuables with another bag of worthless items. The suspects alerted the victim to not look in the bag for an extended time period or the ‘blessing’ would be invalidated.

The SFPD are urging older members of the Chinese community to be aware of suspicious strangers claiming to provide relief to those who have been cursed or looking to provide ‘purification’ ceremonies where cash and valuable items are needed as part of the process. Victims are asked to contact the authorities immediately if they are confronted with such situations.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Central Station Investigation Team at (415) 315-2400, the SFPD Anonymous Tip line at (415) 575-4444, or Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the text with SFPD.