SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — The “ghost scam” continues to victimize seniors, particularly Asian women, in the Bay Area. It’s a crime so serious that the San Francisco District Attorney is personally getting the word out to potential victims.

Earlier this year, police arrested six suspects believed to be from China, as they were attempting to leave the country. San Francisco officials found $850,000 worth of cash and valuables they had allegedly taken from elderly Chinese victims.

According to police, the victims were told they were plagued by ghosts or evil spirits. Victims were then told they could remove the curse through a purification ceremony that requires handing over all of their valuables.

Authorities believe this is an international scam that has victimized at least 50 people in the Bay Area and across the country. Police believe there are many more victims.

“They are embarrassed and don’t want to report it to police. That’s why we have to educate our seniors,” said Josephine Ma of Self Help for the Elderly.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon is holding a serious of community meetings to educate elderly Chinese about the targeted scam. Seniors are being shown a produced video showing a reenactment of an actual crime.

The DA’s office will continue to hold meetings in hopes of tracking down the criminals and preventing future crimes against this vulnerable population.

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