Gloucestershire Constabulary has focused on fraudsters during the early part of 2023, in support of a National Crime Agency campaign.
Operation Henhouse, which was led by the NCA’s National Economic Crime Centre, has seen police forces across the UK work to tackle suspected fraudsters.
As part of this, officers from Gloucestershire arrested 21 people for fraud and money laundering offences over recent weeks and financial investigators used civil powers to recover over £145,000 in criminal funds.
A spokesperson from the Constabulary’s Economic Crime Team said “Fraud can have a devastating impact on victims, emotionally as well as financially.
“As a force we are working with regional and national law enforcement partners to pursue fraudsters and those involved in laundering criminal funds.
“We will use the full extent of our powers to bring offenders to justice and separate them from their ill-gotten gains.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Nelson added: “Fraud and scams are the most common crime in the country, and during my election campaign I promised to do something about them.
“So I’m very pleased to see that the funding I’ve made available to increase the size of Gloucestershire’s economic crime team, both raising awareness of the tricks fraudsters play, and increasing capacity to pursue criminals has contributed to these great results in Op Henhouse.
“I hope that by taking these 21 fraudsters off the streets or out from behind their computers, taking back the money they stole and protecting vulnerable victims, we are sending a clear message not to target Gloucestershire residents, or you can expect the same sort of treatment.”
Members of the public can help to disrupt organised crime groups who commit fraud against our communities.
If you have received a scam phone call (vishing) you can report this at the Action Fraud website www.actionfraud.police.uk/report-phishing. This does not create a crime number but will ensure that law enforcement receive the relevant information about the call.
If you receive a fraudulent text message (smishing), you should forward the message to 7726. This free-of-charge service enables your network provider to investigate the origin of the SMS and take the telephone number out of service.
You can forward fraudulent emails (phishing) to firstname.lastname@example.org . These are then reviewed by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) who can assist with taking down malicious domains.
Criminals may pretend to be a trusted person or company. If something seems suspicious or unexpected, such as requests for money or personal information, contact the organisation directly to check. Use contact details from their official website, not those given in a message, email or phone call.
If you have been the victim of fraud or cybercrime, please report this to Action Fraud on 0300 123 204 or online at www.actionfraud.police.uk.