The Muslim community is being warned to watch out for fraudsters who steal hundreds of thousands of pounds from pilgrims travelling to Mecca.
The scammers pose as legitimate travel operators who offer discounts of up to 50% off the usual price to make pilgrimages to Mecca. Shortly before departure, the tour operator closes and leaves victims both without the tour and with no refund.
Hajj fraud victims lose thousands
Last year more than 600 people reported falling victim to Hajj fraud, but the Association of British Hujjaj estimates that only 10% of Hajj fraud is reported. Some victims have lost up to £20,000 and have been left to sleep on the streets of Mecca.
As this year’s Hajj approaches (14 to 17 November), City of London Police and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) are launching a campaign to counter the threat. Supported by the Muslim community and PROFIT (Prevention of Fraud in Travel), fraud prevention advice is being handed out, while victims of fraud are urged to report it to Action Fraud.
How to protect yourself from Hajj fraud:
- make sure your travel agent/tour operator is ATOL (Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing) protected
- check that your travel agent/tour operator is accredited by the Saudi Embassy
- check exactly what you are paying for
- get everything in writing.
Read more about the Hajj fraud campaign on the NFIB’s website.
Please note: Action Fraud is not responsible for the content on external websites.
To report a fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.