Common con tricks

Spiritual blessing

These scams involve two to four culprits. The targeted victims are usually elderly. The first culprit approaches the victim and asks if he/she has heard of a particular “Doctor” with some super-natural healing power. A second person, who is part of the same gang, emerges to say he has heard of such person. The second person then leads the party to meet a third culprit who claims to be a relative of the “Doctor”. The third culprit alleges the victim that she suffers from some illnesses, usually arthritis and the “Doctor” can help to heal the sickness provided she surrenders some valuables / money for a ritual.

Following the ritual, the culprits return the victim’s valuables, which are wrapped in newspaper, claiming that this is the victim's property. However, when the victim later unwraps the package, he/she discovers the bundle only contains worthless items and the valuables are gone.


  • Be suspicious of anyone who approaches you on the street and asks strange questions or behaves in a strange manner;
  • Temples are the best place for spiritual blessings;
  • Do not put your trust in people you don’t know; and
  • Discuss with your family first before making any decision to withdraw money from a bank to be used in a spiritual ritual.