Tag Archives: loan-sharking

RTBAV – “Don’t worry; you’re safe with me!”

He was leaving the popular bookstore and crossing the parking lot. The early evening light was still  enough for my buddy to see out of the corner of his eye the car coming toward him . He jumped one way; the car pulled the other way and screeched to a sudden stop. He walked over to the rolled down, passenger window, expecting an explanation.

The driver was  younger, muscular, potentially intimidating. “Don’t worry, sir; I wasn’t going to hit you,” he said. My buddy was still awaiting an explanation.

“Don’t worry, you’re safe with me driving,” he continued.  Still no explanation. “I wasn’t going to hit you.”  And then, finally, “You know, my credit card didn’t work when I went for gas.  Can you spare me $5?”

As the hairs stood up on the back of his neck, my friend realized this was a scam!  “I’m sorry,” he said. “I don’t carry cash.”

Radiating intimidation the driver came back,”Well, are you sure??

My friend is a Viet Nam veteran with a concealed carry permit. That explains why the intimidation was not received, as my buddy put his hand under the edge of his untucked shirt, on the handle of his concealed Glock. He was confident; he didn’t have to say another word. “The scammer knew I was not going to be a victim,” he related afterward. Without another word he drove away, rather quickly.

Walking to his car, perturbed with the attempted scam , my friend heard another screech of brakes not 30 seconds later. Looking back to the store, he saw the driver attempting the same scam, on an older lady, who was talking to the driver through the driver’s window!

Same lines…”Don’t worry, ma’am; I wasn’t going to hit you. You’re safe with me driving.”

He approached the car from the left rear.  He was angry. He met the drivers eyes in the left side view mirror, the serious look on his face telegraphing what he felt.

That’s all it took. Almost instantly the scammer drove away, again very quickly.  And the older woman was at first perplexed.  “What happened here,” she thought? “This nice man who saved my life was talking to me, and he suddenly drives away when this other man  came up. And he looks concerned…”  Then it hit her. The explanation. “I could have been scammed, robbed.  The driver could have taken my pocketbook even if it was around my neck. I could have been badly hurt .”

I use this story for a number of reasons. First reason is that it is true. There is no denying that crime can still happen! And not just in sleazy, inner city neighborhoods at night.

Second reason is that it shows the criminal’s strategy to lower the intended victim’s awareness. Gavin DeBecker in his book The Gift of Fear lists Pre-Incident Indicators which are warning signs, red flags that warn you something criminal may be occurring.  This maneuver, called “loan-sharking,” has the criminal making you feel like he had “done you a favor” and now it is your turn to “pay him back.” We discuss the eight Pre-Incident Indicators as well as the psychology of the criminal mind in the Refuse To Be A Victim program.

You can appreciate how my friend was in a Level Orange of awareness. Familiar surroundings, unfamiliar people.  We talk about the White, Yellow, Orange, Red and Black levels of awareness and function in the RTBAV program.

Lastly, one can appreciate his different “layers” of response. He didn’t just run up to the driver’s door, open it, grab the guy and confront him. Rather, he responded to the level that he needed, ultimately even keeping his firearm holstered. And then he prevented the woman from getting ripped off. That’s my buddy. He’s what Lt. Col. Dave Grossman labels a “sheepdog,” watching over people who are prone to being victims.

The information provided in Refuse To Be A Victim gives citizens those “layers” of protection and safety which translate into crime prevention. There is no “hands on” training nor firearm shooting, although I provide some resources if one would want to pursue this.  I invite you to join me at one of my upcoming programs.  Refer to a previous blog for details. I know you’ll find it worthwhile in every respect!!