Q812: What is Hajj fraud? 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. Criminals are now taking advantage of this by offering fraudulent flights, accommodation and visas, in an attempt to defraud people out of their money.
In order to protect yourself and your family from Hajj fraud, you should follow the advice below:
- 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.
- Avoid paying by cash or direct bank transfer. Most legitimate companies will accept credit or debit cards. If you do pay by bank transfer and the company turns out to be fraudulent it will be extremely difficult to recover your money.
If you are the victim of Hajj Fraud, you should report this to Action Fraud (see website in 'related information')