Kent fraud police have arrested 20 suspects, seized more than £7,000 and frozen accounts worth more than £80,000 in their part of a national crackdown on fraudsters.

The force took part in the Operation Henhouse campaign during February, a National Economic Crime Centre initiative that provides funding for police to undertake additional operational activity against fraudsters. Thirteen search warrants were carried out at the homes and business premises of suspects around the county during the month’s action.

As well as arresting 20 suspects, six non-custodial interviews were carried out with those thought to be behind offences, and £7,200 was seized which will be returned to victims. Accounts of those involved, which contain a total of £83,000, have been frozen while further enquiries are carried out.

Further to the enforcement action, Prevent and Protect staff carried out more than 100 engagements and gave 11 presentations around the county to raise awareness of the risks of fraud. Vulnerable people were also provided with call blockers to stop them being targeted.

Detective Inspector Adam Stallard, from the Economic Crime Team, said:

‘Our officers are busy every day of the year, tracking down and arresting suspected fraudsters, but months of concentrated action like this see forces around the country working together to ensure offenders have nowhere to hide.

‘Our work warning people about what to guard against is just as important as arresting those involved and seizing cash. I hope this ongoing effort will prevent offences from occurring in the future.’

How to avoid becoming a victim of fraud:

• Always use the ABC of scam awareness. Never Assume or Believe a caller, email or text is genuine. Always Confirm by contacting a trusted relative, friend, your bank’s fraud department or the police to check it is genuine.

• Remember the police will never call you asking you to assist with an investigation by withdrawing cash for them to collect, or requesting to collect your bank card. If you receive a call purporting to be from the police and are unsure it is genuine, ring them back via 101 using a different telephone.

• Avoid clicking on links in emails and text messages from unknown sources, as they are liable to be a scam.

• Always use a strong and separate password for your email address by using three random words.

For more information on fraud and advice on how to combat it, visit the advice section of our website.

By Ed

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