Beware of street scams

In an update to the story about the blessings scam, local officials continue to try to make the community aware of the scam.

With Tote Bags, Police Try to Combat a ‘Blessing Scam’ – NYTimes.com.

On a street corner in Flushing, Queens, on Wednesday afternoon, Ping Fan, 56, clutched a new tote bag with an unusual provenance: it was a gift from police officers who handed it to her as she strolled down Kissena Boulevard.

The bag, Ms. Fan learned, was intended to be armor of sorts.

Over the last year, New York’s Chinatowns, in Flushing and in Manhattan, have been plagued by an unusual crime known as the “blessing scam” that plays on the traditional spiritual beliefs of Chinese immigrants.

The women are played for a bait and switch that capitalizes on the trust of their fellow Asians and ingrained cultural superstitions. Some people are so embarrassed by the victimization that they do not tell police and the perpetrators steal again. The police in New York (as well as in other metropolitan areas where this scam is occurring) are trying several ways to warn woman not to fall for the scam as sort of an innoculation – making them aware of what to look for and to encourage them to report it. The bags say:

“Blessing frauds.
Beware of street scams!
Please call 911 if you are a victim or witness of a scam.”

Here is more on these scams from around the world. Get the word out. It works.

Blessing scam targeting elderly Asian women hits NYC | Doubtful News.

Psychic healers rob victims of their valuables | Doubtful News.

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  3 comments for “Beware of street scams

  1. June 28, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    People think a lot today about internet scams, but this kind of stuff has been going on for ages. I was actually scammed myself, about 30 years ago when I was just starting life on my own. It’s easy to trust people who have a friendly face and a friendly demeanor (didn’t hurt that she was young and pretty and had a beautiful accent). I thought I was immune to being conned and I wasn’t — fortunately I got off cheap. For better or worse, it made me a less trusting person.

    Scams, for the most part, are NOT about taking advantage of people’s stupidity, it’s about gaining their trust. And people, for the most part, WANT to be trusting, they want to believe that the person they are talking to is honest and trustworthy. And they believe they can tell one someone is not honest or trustworthy. But they forget that con-men make their living by convincing people that they are honest and trustworthy, and they are very good at it.

  2. One Eyed Jack
    June 28, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    What happened to Michael Shermer’s TV series about con artists? Was that just a one episode thing? I thought it was great.

  3. June 29, 2013 at 6:59 AM

    One of the amazing things about 3-card monte that to this day I’ll never understand is that people KNOW it’s a scam, and yet still believe that they can beat the game. Wow, and the film said about the same thing (it was going as I typed this lol).

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