(Press Release from City of London Police)
Hajj fraud campaign launches to protect Muslims planning to make the pilgrimage
City of London Police has today (Oct 8) launched a national campaign to raise
awareness of the threat posed to Muslims by Hajj fraud and to encourage victims
to report to Action Fraud.
year up to 25,000 British Muslims make the pilgrimage to Mecca for Hajj - taking
place October 13 to 18 - spending around £125 million. But the hidden reality
is that thousands more will fall foul of fraudsters and have their dreams of a
once-in-a-lifetime trip destroyed.
worse is the fact that Hajj fraud is being allowed to thrive because only a
very small percentage of victims are reporting to Action Fraud, making it
almost impossible for local police forces to catch those responsible.
confront this problem the City of London Police, which is the national police
lead for fraud, has teamed up with the Council of British Hajjs and ABTA – The
Travel Association to make a special Hajj fraud video: http://youtu.be/lFC_SMoJpYY
force is also working closely with the Muslim community, local forces, trading
standards and local authorities to distribute leaflets and posters – translated
into Arabic, Punjabi, Bengali, Somali, Urdu, Gujarati - across the UK over the
next few weeks. To download go to: www.cityoflondon.police.uk/CityPolice/Advice/EconomicCrime/hajj-fraud-advice.htm
Steve Head, National Fraud Co-ordinator for the City of London Police said:
fraud is a devastating crime that every year is robbing Muslims of what could
be their only opportunity to make the pilgrimage to Mecca.
national campaign has been designed so that together with the Muslim community
and local forces we can understand the true scale of Hajj fraud, prevent people
falling victim and help those who already have, and track down and bring to
justice the fraudsters who make criminal capital by destroying other people’s
Hajj fraud happens
Muslims shopping around for the best
deal on a trip to Mecca, both in their local community and increasingly online,
are attracted by packages – flights, accommodation, visas – which appear to
offer good value for money. Some operators are advertising large reductions.
Individuals are asked to pay in cash
or make a direct bank transfer prior to their trip and are told they will
receive their tickets and travel documents nearer to the departure date. For
some they never arrive.
Mohammed, 36, from Birmingham lost
£4,500 to a Hajj fraud. He felt deeply embarrassed but, importantly, reported
the crime to Action Fraud:
“I was initially very careful to make
sure I was only
considering packages from legitimate travel companies. Unfortunately I
then strayed onto websites that were offering very attractive deals, and
I was persuaded to put my faith in them to deliver a great pilgrimage
As Hajj drew closer no tickets arrived and my agent stopped returning
my calls, until I finally reached the point where I realised I had fallen
victim to a horrible crime. Conducting my own research I came into contact with
at least another 70 people who had also had their pilgrimages ruined in the
How to protect yourself and your loved
ones from Hajj fraud
your research – Don’t book without carrying out some basic checks on your
sure your travel company is a member of a recognised trade body, such as ABTA
you are booking a flight based package make sure your travel company is ATOL
(Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing) protected by the Civil Aviation Authority
everything in writing
not pay the travel company by cash or direct bank transfer into an individual’s
Rashid Mogradia, CEO of the Council of
British Hajjis said:
“Whilst the majority of Hajj tour
operators deliver an excellent service, there are those who seek to tarnish the
reputation of the industry by seeking to defraud British Muslim pilgrims of
their life savings. Pilgrims must ensure they book with reputable and licensed
Victims of Hajj fraud should report to
Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at www.actionfraud.police.uk
All reports are reviewed by the City
of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau and can be used to
identify serial offenders and form the basis of police investigations.
Watch this video to ensure you don't become a victim of Hajj fraud:
<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/lFC_SMoJpYY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
For more information, click on this leaflet and please share the leaflet as well as this poster with others who you think may be affected.
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