Daily News and blog Bensonhurst Bean report that chatty coffee shop scammers are targeting elderly Asian women on busy shopping strips in Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Sheepshead Bay and Sunset Park.
Called the "Blessing Scam" or "Chinese Blessing", it's been reported in Asian communities worldwide, but this is the first time it's shown up in New York City.
After bonding with the mark over coffee, the scammer asks for money. If the mark won't hand it over, the scammer applies intimidation tactics, claiming to have the power to slap a curse on the mark's family members.
elderly targets usually don't speak English and aren't likely to call the police.
Businesses on Avenue U in Gravesend and in Sheepshead Bay whose customers have been targeted now keep an eye out for overly-friendly customers.
The scammers sometimes travel in packs and could be dressed in orange or brown monks' robes.
More from ABC News Local.
More from Brooklyn Daily.
This San Francisco Chronicle article describes a "Chinese Blessing" case being tried in San Francisco.