A woman from Toronto was charged by York Region police after allegedly using witchcraft to scam $600K from an elderly man. The woman was charged with fraud for pretending to practice witchcraft in order to pull off an “evil spirit blessing scam”.
Self-Proclaimed Psychic or Fraud?
The 27-year-old suspect, a self-proclaimed psychic, was arrested after a year of investigations regarding her interactions with a 67-year-old man from York Region who claimed that he lost about $600,000 to her scheme. Authorities began the investigation after they received an anonymous tip talking about an incident of elder financial abuse in November 2017. They found out that the man had to sell his house upon the accused’s alleged prompting so that he can get rid of evil spirits in his home. The woman then told the man that she will hold on to the money until after the spirits were removed but no money was returned to the man. Instead, the woman allegedly asked for an additional $6,000 for a ritualistic burning for which the man used credit and sold his car for just to meet the woman’s demands for money.
Evil Spirit Blessing Scam is a Possible Trend
York Regional Police shared via Const. Laura Nicolle that this incident is not the first of its kind recorded in the area. Const. Nicolle shared that they’ve uncovered similar incidents in Markham in 2015. The modus is the same. The fraudsters convince homeowners that there are evil spirits surrounding them and placing them and their family at risk. The victims are made to feel that they are in dire circumstances and must act fast with the help of the scammers or face a possible threat. The fear that the scammers cultivate in their victims explains why victims willingly part with huge sums of money in the hopes that they and their family will be safe.
The police also shared that the fraudsters typically target the elderly or people who are new to Canada, such as in the case of the Milton woman who was arrested recently by Halton Police for extortion, fraud, and pretending to be a witch. The Milton woman allegedly scammed her victim out of $60,000.
How to Avoid Falling Victim to Evil Spirit Blessing Scam
The scammers involved in this scam often claim to be practitioners of magic or witchcraft and find their victims by approaching in person or posting ads online. One concern shared by the police is that it is not easy to identify who will be targeted next because this scam involves someone’s personal concerns regarding beliefs in evil spirits, something which people don’t usually talk to the police about.
Const. Nicolle says that if you know someone who’ve fallen victim to this scam, the only way to retrieve stolen assets is to file a case or to use the court system. The best way to avoid becoming a victim is to avoid talking to people you don’t know online and in person, especially if they claim to be practitioners of magic or witchcraft and try to look at things from another perspective.
If you know someone who might be a victim of the evil spirit blessing scam or suspect that you are being targeted by a fraudster and wanted to be sure, feel free to contact us for our private investigation services. We can gather information to help you file a report or a case of fraud to the police. Contact us at Haywood Hunt today!