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US: That looks heavy — here, let me bless it for you…

July 8, 2013

For every credibility gap, there is a gullibility fill. — Richard Clopto

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.

Scammers approach victims, usually elderly Chinese women, telling them they look haggard and unlucky. The solution, the women are told, is to shove all of their valuables in a sack to be blessed, and to be unsealed several days later.

But its only when the bundles are opened that the victims realize truly how unlucky they are: the sacks are invariably empty except for crushed newspaper, water bottles and rice, having been swapped for an identical bag long before. And the helpful stranger is now nowhere to be found.

Ok, superstition doesn’t actually make people stupid. But it does make stupid people a hell of a lot more vulnerable.


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