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Hajj fraud

July 9, 2018
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Every year more than two million Muslims celebrate Hajj by making the pilgrimage to Mecca in what is the world’s biggest annual gathering of people. Within this mass of humanity are thousands of UK citizens, many of whom will have saved for years in the knowledge that, for them, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Unfortunately as Hajj approaches there will also be a significant number of Muslims who have paid for a tour package for themselves and their family only to discover their dreams have been shattered by fraudsters.

Please don't let this be you.

Here are some tips and advice on how you can ensure you aren't a victim of Hajj fraud:

Do your research. Don’t book without carrying out some basic checks on your travel agency/ tour operator. A recommendation from a friend or family member does not guarantee the authenticity of the outfit. Go online and run a search on the travel company/flight-based package to see if other people have commented on their services.

Make sure your travel company is a member of a recognised trade association such as ABTA. All ABTA members have to follow a code of conduct and meet rigorous entry criteria, minimising the chance of fraudulent companies joining. You can verify a company’s ABTA membership on their website.

Get everything in writing. Always get written terms and conditions as this details your contract with the travel company. Make sure your flight details, accommodation and Hajj visa are valid.

Do not pay the travel company by cash or by direct bank transfer into an individual’s account. Most legitimate companies will have facilities with a bank to accept credit or debit cards. If you do pay by bank transfer or cash and the company turns out to be fraudulent it will be virtually impossible to get your money back.

If you have been a victim of Hajj fraud please do report this and don't suffer in silence or feel embarrassed.

You can report the crime by contacting Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

101 is the number to call when you need to contact Nottinghamshire Police and it’s less urgent than a 999 call. Calls cost 15p, no matter how long the call lasts.