Police are investigating a ‘blessing scam’ which targets elderly Chinese women by exploiting their traditional beliefs.
Also known as the ghost scam or ritual scam, the swindle scares its victims into handing over valuables which are then stolen during an elaborate deception, police say.
The scammers usually approach a victim in a public place and tell them a family member is in desperate need of assistance from an eastern medicine healer.
When the victim is asked if they know anyone, a second scammer claims to have overheard the conversation and offers to help.
Police say the victim is then introduced to a woman who claims to be a healer and is told she has angered the spirits.
The treatment involves the victim supplying jewellery or items of high value to be ‘treated in a ritual’.
The scammers then replace the valuables with cheap items which are concealed in wrapping.
The victim is told the items must remain wrapped for a long time for the cleansing to work.
Once the victim unwraps the parcel they find that their valuables have been stolen.
The scam has been reported in WA, interstate and overseas.
Police have released images of three women who may be able to assist with inquiries into a similar alleged scam in Perth’s CBD in March 2018.
Any with information should contact Crime Stoppers.