The police are looking for a trio of Chinese women who allegedly convinced a 72-year-old to give them $2,000 so she could ward off evil spirits.

The police say that last week, on the morning of May 9, two women befriended the elderly woman and started chatting her up near Prince and Elizabeth Streets. A third woman joined the conversation and told the older woman to pay them or else the evil spirits would harm her and her family. According to the NYPD, "The victim returned to her home and placed money in a bag. The victim is instructed not to open the bag for several days to chase away the evil spirits. When the victim opened the bag a couple of hours later she found newspapers and a water bottle."

Sources tell the Post that it's suspected the women—all described as being in their 40s (one is pictured)—have done this "cleansing" scam before. The NYPD even distributed this pamphlet (PDF) to warn residents.