Posted on April 24, 2013

Con Artists Tormenting Chinese Immigrants in Brooklyn with Cash-or-Curse Scam

CBS New York, April 23, 2013

Con artists are targeting the elderly in a frightening way in Brooklyn.

As CBS 2’s John Slattery reported Tuesday, they ask for cash, and if they don’t get it, they terrorize their victims by threatening an evil curse.

As Chinese immigrants expand their growth in the city, con artists are targeting their older population, like those in Sheepshead Bay. Slattery spoke to one woman who knows one of the victims, and explained that the motive is said to be simple.

“Easy money,” she said.

It’s an old scam, warding off evil with a so-called “blessing.”


“It is a curse. They try to scare some family member got sick … get spell … a curse from the evil,” said community activist Sammy Tsang.

Tsang said if money or jewelry is not paid, the target is warned a family member will suffer.

“They believe it, usually. They are very superstitious,” Tsang said.


The scam has spread from China to San Francisco, to Boston and New York, and could move farther, police said.