The "blessing scammers" are back, and victims are being told they will be cursed in the Year of the Rat unless they turn in their valuables to be blessed by a "God-master".
Chinese New Year - the Year of the Rat - starts on January 25 this year and ends on February 11, 2021.
Police say they are aware of at least two recent reports; one in Takapuna on December 15 and the other in Auckland City.
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Another woman, who was approached in Northcote just after Christmas, told the Herald she was befriended by a woman who told her she looked troubled and was facing a curse from a "evil money ghost".
"She said Chinese New Year is coming, and if I didn't do something now, the curse will last through the new year and the 'rats' will continue to eat into my finances," said the woman, 55, who did not want to be named.
Soon after, another woman appeared and shared a story of how she had gone from being in serious debt to striking Lotto after blessings from the God-master.
"They sounded so convincing, but I sensed something was wrong when they wanted me to accompany back to my home immediately to get my valuables," said the woman, originally from China.
The woman, who has yet to make a police report, said she then made an excuse that she was late for an appointment and walked away.
Constable Hanfei Yue, from Waitematā East Police, said the recent incidents followed several previous reports of this happening in Auckland's North Shore and other locations in Auckland last year.
"Police are actively looking into these recent reports and we are currently following lines of enquiry into these matters," Yue said.
"We encourage members of our Chinese community to spread the message to warn others of this scam so they are aware."
Despite having received multiple reports of the Chinese ghost scammers in the past few years, Yue said no arrests have been made.
Last May, a Mt Roskill retiree Su Fen Tang, 60, told the Herald she was scammed out of $100,000 in money and valuables.
Tang was approached on her way to her medical check-up at Greenlane Hospital when a woman told her a "God doctor" named Gao could cure her of her ailments and a curse by an evil spirit.
A third woman then appeared and convinced her to see this Dr Gao after telling her how she too had been miraculously cured.
Tang was instructed to put all her cash, jewellery and valuables amounting to $100,000 into a bag to be blessed by Gao. She was then told not to open the bag for several days for the blessing to work.
When she finally opened it, she found the bag filled with stones and her property gone.
Police said the scam was an elaborate fraud designed specifically to prey on older Chinese by exploiting their strong traditional and cultural beliefs.
Police are urging anyone who has been a victim of the scam and is yet to contact the police to do so.
• Anyone with information about the scammers is asked to phone 105, email constable Yue on HYDJ72@police.govt.nz or provide information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.