SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Police Department are warning members of the Chinese community to be alert of a string of scams targeting the elderly that is results in financial loss. The most recent incident took place on Saturday, January 19 on the 2500 block ofNoriega Streetat around 10:15 a.m. The victim a 70-year-oldSan Franciscowoman, loss cash and valuables totaling over $50,000.
“In this incident, the victim was approached by the first of three Cantonese-speaking suspects, all female, just after the victim left a restaurant. One suspect asked her if she knew where to find a particular Chinese doctor. As part of the scam, the second suspect pretends to have overheard the conversation, telling the suspect that she knows where to find the doctor. These two suspects then convince the victim to walk with them to the supposed location of the doctor, on the 1600 block ofNoreiga Avenue,” states a press released from the SFPD website.
After the two suspects meet with the third suspect (acting as a doctor) they convince the victim that they are suffering from an illness and they are under a curse that will impact their loved ones. In order to alleviate the curse their valuables should “blessed.” The suspects then go to the victim’s home where they obtained her valuables which included money, jewelry and other items that are brought to the suspects who are waiting on a nearby street. A “blessing” is performed and the suspects swap the victim’s bag of valuables for another bag containing worthless items.
The suspects warn the victim not to look into the bag for an extensive time frame otherwise the “blessing” would be invalidated. Authorities have posted a surveillance video of the incident in question at the following link http://sanfranciscopolice.org/index.aspx?page=3763&recordid=621. The three suspects in the video are all seen wearing hats and the vehicle being used is a late model, silver Toyota Prius. A fourth suspect, a Chinese male was seen remaining inside the vehicle.
Authorities are warning older members of the Chinese community to be alert of strangers claiming to provide relief from a curse or “purification” ceremonies in which cash and other valuables are used as a part of the process. The SFPD is asking anyone who encounters such situations or if you have any information about the incident in question to contact them immediately.
By LaDale Anderson