Going on Hajj can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.
However, pilgrims should beware of unlicensed travel companies when booking Hajj trips.
Around 25,000 pilgrims head to Saudi Arabia from the UK for Hajj, which normally takes place in October.
Every year ABTA sees cases where individuals pay for travel arrangements that are sub-standard, or in the worst cases, non-existent, leaving victims out of pocket by thousands of pounds.
Currently only 10% of victims of Hajj fraud are estimated by the Association of British Hujajj (pilgrims) to report the crime.
How to avoid the scams
One way to protect yourself against fraud is to make sure the company is a member of a recognised trade association such as ABTA. All ABTA Members have to meet our rigorous entry criteria, minimising the chance of fraudulent companies joining. It is also advisable to verify a company's ABTA membership, you can do this through our Find a Member search.
Make sure that you receive an ATOL certificate as soon as you have paid any money to your travel company. All UK tour operators selling flight-based holidays must hold an ATOL license. You can check if an ATOL is valid on the CAA website.
Avoid paying your travel company by direct bank transfer; most legitimate companies will have facilities with a bank to accept credit or debit cards. If you do pay by bank transfer and the company turns out to be fraudulent it will be virtually impossible to get your money back.
For more information, download our leaflet and poster below.
What to do if you have been a victim of fraud
It’s important to report a fraud so that the criminals can be stopped and that others don’t fall victim to the same scam. Here’s what to do:
Report it to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or speak to a specialist adviser on 0300 123 2040. You can also use the online tool if you suspect you’ve been targeted.
If you paid for the holiday using your credit card, report the fraud to your card issuer.
If you have any information on crime and you would prefer not to speak to police you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
The City of London Police are so concerned about this problem that they have produced a leaflet for Hajj pilgrims giving sensible advice, but also encouraging victims of fraudulent traders to report the matter to the police.