POLICE are investigating a con known as a ‘blessing scam’, ‘ghost scam’ or ‘ritual scam’ targeting elderly Chinese women in Perth.
The scam relies heavily on cultural and traditional beliefs to instil fear in the victims and assure their compliance.
The con begins when a woman approaches a victim in a public place and states that a member of the victim’s family is in desperate need of medical assistance, and requires the aid of an eastern medicine ‘healer’.
From there another woman happens to overhear and offers advice.
This advice leads to the introduction of the victim to a third woman who claims to be a ‘healer’ with the perpetrators saying the victim has angered the spirits.
The treatment suggested is to have the victim supply jewellery or items of high value to be ‘treated in a ritual’.
During this ritual the group scam the victim by replacing the victim’s valuables with low cost items.
The returned valuables are wrapped and the victim is given instructions not to unwrap it for a long length of time for the ‘cleansing/treatment’ to be effective.
Once the victim unwraps the parcel, they find that their valuables have been stolen.
Reports of this scam have been received interstate and overseas, with one incident reported to Western Australian police.
The below images are of three women who may be able to assist Detectives with inquiries into a similar scam that occurred in the Perth CBD in March 2018.
Any information regarding the identity of these women or anyone who has any information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or at www.crimestopperswa.com.au.