That Weird Asian Ghost Scam Is Now Victimizing the Richmond District
That really bizarre ghost scam that's plagued San Francisco's Asian community since early this year has made its way to the Richmond neighborhood, where it claimed a new victim this week.
Wants your money and jewelry
The latest victim is a 64-year-old woman, who was standing at the bus stop earlier this week at Balboa and 16th Avenue when she was approached by suspect No. 1 -- an Asian female between the ages of 45 and 55. The suspect asked the victim if she knew of an auto repair business nearby.
The suspect then asked the woman if she knew of an herbal doctor close by, and the victim replied "no," according to SFPD.
A second suspect -- also an Asian female between 45 and 55 years old -- chimed in, saying that she knew of one close by and they should all go as it was "good luck."
The victim, perhaps looking for a little extra luck, agreed to go with the duo and they walked south on 15th Avenue from Balboa. The second suspect was on the phone with a third suspect, who met the trio on 15th Avenue, between Balboa and Cabrillo. The third suspect told the victim that she had bad luck and needed to bring her valuables to her for a blessing.
The victim agreed. She then left the suspects and went to her home 10 blocks away, where she gathered her foreign and U.S. currency, and returned to the suspects with the cash. They told the victim to place the money in a bag and instructed her not to open it for seven days, police said.
Everyone went their separate ways, including the victim, who was now feeling curious. The woman opened the bag and found her money had been replaced with water bottles and newspapers.
According to police, all three suspects were Asian females, between 45 and 55 years old. Two of the women were wearing gray jackets and blue jeans, and the third was in a burgundy jacket and jeans. All three had short hair.
The District Attorney's Office has been hosting community meetings to educate the elder population about these insidious scams that have plagued the Asian community since last year. The cops have busted several suspects in action, yet that's done very little to cap the prolific scammers who prey on elderly woman. The thieves employ the same M.O. each time, telling their victims they have bad luck or ghosts attached to them and are in need of a "purification ceremony" where they tell the victims they will "bless" their valuables.
"The suspects will go to great lengths to steal money from unsuspecting elderly Chinese women. My office is working closely with SFPD on these cases," District Attorney George Gascón said in September after one victim was duped out of $35,000. "The best way to stop these scams is to educate the community on how they can protect themselves."
If you think you have been a victim or you know of someone who has, report the fraud or scam to the SFPD at 553-0123; for Cantonese, please call 553-9212.