The Calgary Police Service Economic Crimes Unit is warning Calgarians of a scam moving across Canada that targets members of the southeast Asian community.
Although there are no confirmed reports of people being victimized in Calgary, there is some indication a criminal group is moving across the country targeting elderly Chinese women. Investigators know the thefts often go unreported and are hoping to alert members of the Asian community to the potential scam to prevent thefts from occurring.
Using what is known as the ‘blessing scam,’ thieves will tell victims that an evil spirit will harm them, their son, or their grandson if they do not have their money and valuables blessed by the fraudsters. The victims are asked to bring their valuables in a container, at which time the scammers switch the bag of money or valuables with a bag of worthless items. The victims are then told not to open the bag or tell anyone.
The Calgary Police Service works with partner agencies to identify crime trends across the country. The CPS was alerted to a rise in incidents of the ‘blessing scam’ by the Vancouver Police Department, who have since made a number of arrests in relation to the frauds.
Anyone who believes they may be a victim of a fraud is encouraged to contact the Calgary Police Service non-emergency number at 403-266-1234 or Crime Stoppers anonymously using any of the following methods:
TALK: 1-800-222-TIPS FREE
TEXT: tttTIPS to 274637