NEW YORK (AP) – Detectives say there has been a rash in New York of what are known as evil spirit or blessing scams.
It targets older Chinese women who are swindled out of their valuables by scammers who prey on superstition and fear.
According to police reports, in the past six months, two dozen victims have reported valuables stolen. A total of more than $1.8 million in cash and valuables has been stolen.
In each instance, victims bundled up cash and jewelry and gave it to strangers. Victims are told the contents would be blessed in an effort to ward off evil spirits. They just have to wait a period of time to re-open it. But when they do, they find water bottles, cough drops and beans. But no valuables.