SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Police Department are offering tips to members of the Chinese community to prevent them from becoming victims of a “Blessing/Healing” scam. Authorities are urging all members of the Chinese community to be suspicious of strangers claiming to provide relief from a curse or illness or who those who provide “purification” ceremonies in which cash and valuable items must be offered as part of the process.
The most recent incident occurred on Tuesday, July 11 in the Sunset District, where the victim lost $5,000 in cash. During the incident, the victim was approached by the first of three suspects, an Asian female who asked for directions to a healing salon. The second suspect, an Asian male, pretended to be walking by, approached and offered to use his smart phone to help locate the salon.
The male suspect then convinced the victim to walk to a nearby car where the third suspect, an older Asian male, was waiting. The victim was led to believe she had cancer and gave the suspects $5,000 as payment for a cure for her cancer. The suspects promised to return some of the money, but never did.
The video below depicts various ways to identify potential scammers, how to protect yourself from a scam, and reporting resources available to scam victims.
Link to PSA videos:
Anyone with information about any similar incidents is asked to contact the SFPD Anonymous Tip line at (415) 575-4444, or Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the text with SFPD. Reports can be made at any SFPD District Station or by calling Dispatch at (415) 553-0123 and requesting an officer to take a report. Cantonese speakers can leave tips on a special tip line by calling (415) 553-9212 or 1-855-737-3847.
Written By Casey Jacobs