Con artists in Brooklyn, New York, are taking aim at the superstitions of elderly Chinese immigrants with a bizarre extortion scam.
The con artists threaten to place an evil curse on the seniors' families unless they pay them not to. The victims are usually women.
The so-called "cash or curse" con is also happening in the Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Sheepshead Bay and Sunset Park areas of New York.
“It is a curse. They try to scare some family member got sick … get spell … a curse from the evil,” community activist Sammy Tsang told CBS New York.
The con is also called the "Chinese blessing scam." It usually happens in stores. The scammer will ask the victim for money, and, if refused, the con artist then says that the victim's family will become ill, reports Pix11.com.
“They believe it, usually. They are very superstitious,” added Tsang.
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Unfortunately, educating seniors about this type of scam is difficult because they cling to old world superstitions.