POLITICS

Police say bracelet scammers targeting Vancouver's unlucky Chinese seniors

06/28/2012 05:08 EDT | Updated 08/28/2012 05:12 EDT
VANCOUVER - Vancouver Police are warning the public, especially the Chinese community, about a group of scammers targeting senior citizens.

The group recently tricked a senior into paying $15,000 for what was supposed to be a lucky jade bracelet.

The grifters, all Asian women speaking Cantonese, worked a complicated scheme on the victim starting with asking directions to a jewellery store to pawn some bracelets.

Second and third suspects posing as passing pedestrians then talked up the value and supernatural powers of the bracelets, convincing the woman it was bad luck not to buy such jewellery.

The woman was asked to pay $16,000, but bargained the scammers down to $15,000 for one of the bracelets.

"It's complex and it's well choreographed," said Vancouver Police Sgt. Joe Chu.

Police say similar scams have taken place in San Francisco and Seattle and the department is asking any other possible victims to come forward.

A similar scam also victimized a Vancouver woman in 2008, but in this latest case the target has been reluctant to help police.

Chu said the woman's family came to police.

"The victim, for whatever reason, whether it's cultural sensitivities, whether it's just pure embarrassment, she's not willing to come forward and press charges," he says.

"The message to the suspects is 'we know who you are, if you continue to do this in Vancouver, we will come after you.'"

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous story said the woman paid $16,000