San Francisco's blessing scams, notorious schemes that prey on monolingual Chinese women with the false promise of spiritual relief in exchange for their valuables, have prompted District Attorney Brooke Jenkins to launch a public awareness campaign aimed at educating community members about these nefarious activities. In collaboration with local organizations, Jenkins is spearheading the effort to tackle the issue head-on, as stated on the District Attorney’s website.
"My office will do everything we can to educate the public to prevent these incidents from happening, and also work to hold perpetrators accountable ensure that they face consequences for their crimes," Jenkins declared, emphasizing the commitment to protect vulnerable citizens and chasing down the con artists involved in blessing scams, according to the District Attorney's official press statement. The campaign’s start on February 5 was marked by initial success at Self-Help for the Elderly’s South Sunset Senior Center, with more sessions planned across the city to raise awareness among at-risk groups.
Understanding that knowledge is power, this campaign focuses on empowering San Francisco's seniors, who are oftentimes the prime targets of scam artists. Anni Chung, CEO of Self-Help for the Elderly, vocalized shared distress over the scam's resurgence, urging DA Jenkins to take stringent action against those preying on the elderly. "Over sixty seniors have fallen prey to these scams in the past, losing their life savings and hard-earned money," Chung told the District Attorney’s Office. The Victim Services Division offers bilingual materials and sessions conducted in Cantonese to provide the community with information and support.
Recent police reports detail two incidents involving an Asian male in his fifties or sixties and two Asian females aged from their early thirties to sixties carrying out these scams. Unfortunately, these victims fall for the ruse because of the criminals' convincing acts of clairvoyance and faux spiritual guidance. But the District Attorney's Office assures that any perpetrators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent once enough evidence is gathered to convict beyond a reasonable doubt. The community is urged to be vigilant, avoid sharing personal information with strangers, and report suspicious activities to the SFPD or the tip lines provided, which also offer assistance in Cantonese.
Those needing a presentation or aid are encouraged to reach out to the Victim Services Division via the provided email or phone number.