Sandy Springs Woman’s Scam Story Brings up ‘The Gift of Fear’

The 68-year-old Sandy Springs woman says she was the victim of a $25,000 scam by a woman who approached her in a Fresh Market parking lot on Oct. 12. Best-selling author Gavin De Becker, a criminal expert, has said for years that fear can be a gift.


A Sandy Springs woman who says she was the told Sandy Springs Patch that she was afraid for her life during the entire experience.

But best-selling author Gavin de Becker, a criminal expert, has said for years that fear can be a gift in threatening situations.

The 68-year-old Sandy Springs woman says she was the victim of a scam by a much younger woman who approached her in a Fresh Market parking lot on Oct. 12. She reported to police that a ruse was carried out in which the younger woman intimidated her with a bag of found money. In the end, the older woman says she was out of savings from two bank accounts.

I. He says the victims are usually older females, almost always approached by a woman.

I recall being approached in my early 20s in what was then called a “flim-flam.” 

I worked at Bronner Brothers in West End Mall. One afternoon, before work, I stopped by St. Anthony’s Catholic Church. I left the church caught up in my own thoughts as I walked down the street towards the mall. A woman came out of Goodwill, looking somewhat out of sorts, and approached me. She said she found a bag of money and didn’t know what to do with it.

I was startled and must’ve instinctively known something was wrong. I was overcome with a migraine headache and my vision became distorted. The woman kept insisting that I follow her to her friend parked around the corner who could help. She seemed worried about her “found money” and tried to convince me that if I went with her I would benefit.

All I knew was that I couldn’t see clearly and although my nature is to try to help a person in need, this wouldn’t be a good idea.

This all took place in about a 10 or 15-minute period. In the end, I proceeded on to work, disoriented.  

When I told my co-worker about the incident, she said, “You were flim-flammed.”  I thought, “No, I avoided a flim-flam.”

There have been other instances when I have felt vulnerable in public –like my early days in New York City – where I was approached on a few occasions. But it seems to me the key is to pause, and then depart from the person who has approached you.

Gavin de Becker suggests people use their fear, because fear is an instinct that can warn you of danger.

His best-selling book, “The Gift of Fear” describes a day when a woman reluctantly let a man into her apartment when he helped her with a broken bag of groceries that had fallen down the steps of her walk-up building. His voice appeared friendly but she felt an angst inside that she didn’t listen to. Later when he had her naked in her bedroom, she listened to that inner voice. 

As he closed the bedroom window, he assured her that he wouldn’t kill her then went to the kitchen and rifled through a drawer. The closing of the window signaled her instincts. While he seemingly searched for a knife, she silently slipped out of her apartment, undressed, and fled to a neighbor.

Danger and scams don’t have to be elaborate. Sandy Springs Police have warned citizens about supermarket scams where women place their purses in shopping carts, only to be distracted by a person asking them a question. In the meantime, another person swipes their wallet from the purse.

We can only do the best we can in safeguarding our belongings and being aware of danger. However, I personally always keep in mind one of my father’s mantras. He was a cop who used to say, “People steal.”

See Also

Found Money: Good Luck or the Start of a Scam

Common Ways Thieves Steal Wallets at Grocery Stores


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