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Police warning over Mecca pilgrimage fraudsters
MUSLIMS in Worcestershire planning to join the pilgrimage to Mecca next month are being warned to be wary of bogus tour operators offering cheap trips.
West Mercia Police force’s economic crime unit Detective Inspector Mark Glazzard has issued the warning following a spate of incidents across the country in which pilgrims have been stung by rogue firms.
Every year the Hajj, a Muslim pilgrimage beginning on October 13 that must be completed by every able bodied Muslim who can afford to once in their lifetime, takes place and is the largest gathering of people in the world.
Now in the UK a nationwide campaign on Hajj fraud warning Muslims to be on their guard has also been launched by the City of London Police and is being supported by West Mercia.
Last year, there were 44 reports of fraud made to police, but the true scale of criminality is thought to be much greater.
DI Glazzard said: “We urge members of the public from our area intending to book a pilgrimage to take some simple steps to protect themselves from such fraud.
“Use reputable companies that are ATOL protected, check the details that are being provided, use secure payment methods and be wary of agreeing to any payment methods that appear unusual.
“If you suspect you or a relative have been the subject of a fraud or attempted fraud, please report the matter to Action Fraud, the national reporting agency on 0300 123 2040.”
Police also advise travellers to check if the tour company is accredited by the Saudi Embassy and to get all details in writing.
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