Q812: What is Hajj fraud and how can I protect myself from this?
Thousands of British Muslims make the pilgrimage to Mecca for Hajj in October, which involves millions of pounds being spent on travel and accommodation. Unfortunately for some Muslims, this is shattered by fraudsters who trick them into thinking they have paid for a tour package for themselves and their families. They offer fraudulent flights, accommodation and visas - with some Muslims arriving in Saudi Arabia to find that their trip does not exist and is in fact a scam.
Below are a few tips to help protect yourself and your family against Hajj Fraud:
- Make sure you research the companies you are using; don't book anything without carrying some basic checks on the travel company.
- Check whether the travel company you want to use is a member of a recognised body (e.g. ABTA).
- If you are booking flights, make sure that the company is ATOL (Air Travel Organisers' Licensing) protected by the Civil Aviation Authority.
- Make sure you get all bookings confirmed in writing.
- DO NOT pay by cash or direct bank transfer into an individual's account. This makes it extremely difficult to recover your money.
If you are the victim of Hajj Fraud, you should report this to Action Fraud who specialise in dealing with fraud and financially motivated internet crime. You can find their link, and other useful websites, in the related information section.