WHEN we say scams can happen to anyone, we really mean anyone, as Detective Inspector Bob Blemmings found out at the weekend.
In June the Constitution exclusively reported that a huge amount of money had been illegally withdrawn from bank accounts of Coleraine and Limavady residents in only a matter of weeks.
At the time, Detective Inspector (DI) Bob Blemmings from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in Causeway Coast and Glens issued a serious warning to be extremely vigilant and aware to all types of fraud.
Now, unfortunately, DI Blemmings has fallen victim to the type of fraudulent crime he was warning the public about.
DI Blemmings explains: "I tried to pay for some shopping at the supermarket on Saturday but my card was declined.
“I thought it was strange so I paid using another card and when I got home decided to check the balance online.
“Straightaway I noticed an odd transaction at 04.45am and quickly realised someone had gained unauthorised access to our account; our bank had alerted the transactions as potentially fraudulent and stopped any further transactions.
"I rang the bank straightaway and reported all the details I had on where money was being transferred to.
“The incident has been reported to Action Fraud and of course I have reported it to my own colleagues.”
Detective Blemmings knew the importance of immediately reporting the incident to both the bank and the police.
He also reiterates that it is hard not to feel embarrassed about this type of incident but to understand that it really can happen to anyone.
He continued: “While I am grateful that the bank was able to get the money back I have to say I actually feel mortified that it happened.
“Yes, there was probably very little I could do about this particular type of scam but it was still a shock.
“The reality is these scammers don't care who they target.
“In my case it appears that my card details had been stolen from another purchase and these scammers have obtained these and used my account.
"A common feeling for victims of fraud is embarrassment and frustration that they have been victimised, I know this to be true.
“If you believe you have been a victim of crime report it immediately and get the help to recover your money, if possible, and prevent you being victimised in the future.
"Checking your bank balance every day is a simple way of keeping an eye out for unusual transactions and if you have a mobile app, it's really quick and easy to do.”
If you do come across something unusual report it to your bank or building society immediately and contact Action Fraud online or by phoning 0300 123 2040.