11/09/2012 03:29 EST | Updated 01/09/2013 05:12 EST

Chinese Seniors Scam In Vancouver Preys On Bad Luck Fears: Police

Flickr: Never Get Out Of The Boat
VANCOUVER - Vancouver police have issued a warning about a scam targeting Chinese seniors whose cultural and superstitious beliefs are being used against them.

Const. Brian Montague says that since last June, seven elderly Chinese women have been approached on the street and told they were being followed by a ghost or evil spirit and that one of their children would die.

Montague says that in each case, a group of Cantonese-speaking Asians convinced the seniors that for $20,000 in cash and valuables they'd be given a lucky jade bracelet or a bottle of blessed mystical water to remove the bad luck.

He says the suspects have preyed upon victims in various parts of the city, and arranged for the seniors to meet them again a few hours later with their money and valuables, including jewelry.

Montague says that once the suspects receive the goods, they have the victims put them in a bag to be blessed and tell them not to check the contents for a specific period, and when they do, they find their valuables replaced with worthless items.

He says police believe more people have been victimized by the scammers but are too embarrassed to come forward.