San Francisco Police Seek Suspects in "Blessing Scam" Preying on Elderly

San Francisco Police Seek Suspects in "Blessing Scam" Preying on ElderlySource: Google Street View
Tony Ng
Published on February 10, 2024

San Francisco Police are on the hunt for a group of scammers targeting the elderly in what's been termed a "blessing scam." According to reports, the suspects engage with solo vulnerable individuals in public, pretending to offer spiritual help before swindling them out of their valuables. In a recent incident on January 29, as reported by the San Francisco Police Department, an elderly woman was conned into bringing forth her jewelry and cash for a ceremonial blessing, only to later find she'd been duped with fake replacements.

The scam, which seems to follow a grisly pattern, involves a male and two females discussing spiritual ailments with their targets and then taking them to a secluded spot or the victim's home to conduct the so-called blessing. An another case logged on February 1 saw an elder female approached while waiting for a bus and subsequently relieved of her possessions in a similar ruse. Later, she discovered her valuables were replaced by worthless items.

The Special Victims Unit of the San Francisco Police Department is leading the investigation and is urging the public to come forth with information that might aid in apprehending the perpetrators. The suspects have been described as a male aged between 50 to 60 and two females aged from 30 to 60, all with black hair and brown eyes, and partially masked faces. Bystanders also reported two vehicles associated with the suspects.

The SFPD is prioritizing the safety of its multilingual communities and has set up a Cantonese tip line for those who may have information but are limited in English proficiency. Tips can be submitted by calling (415) 553-9212 or 1-855-737-3847. Additionally, tips can be called into the Anonymous Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 or via Text a Tip by texting to TIP411 and starting the message with "SFPD".

The department emphasizes its dedication to respect and safety amongst all community members, boasting hundreds of officers fluent in over 30 languages. The aim is to enhance communication with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) individuals and ensure they are not excluded from justice or protection due to language barriers. The SFPD's commitment reflects the city's diverse fabric and the need for an inclusive approach to community safety and support.