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Birmingham City Council awarded funding to take lead on tackling hajj fraud

Birmingham City Council awarded funding to take lead on tackling hajj fraud

Categories: Latest News

Tuesday September 09 2014

ITV News reports that Birmingham City Council has been awarded £100,000 by the National Trading Standards Board to help combat hajj fraud. 

The funding award follows Trading Standards investigation conducted by the city council with the City of London Police resulting in two people being arrested on suspicion of selling Hajj packages with false claims of having Air Travel Organiser’s License (ATOL) protection or no travel protection at all.

The Asian Image and the Newham Recorder reported in August that officers searched a residential property and a travel agency in Forest Gate and found that both the traders were not legally permitted to sell the packages. An estimated £400,000 was also seized in the investigation.

Following the incident in Forest Gate, an officer from Birmingham Trading Standards accompanied Manchester City Council’s trading standards officers in their visits to companies selling Hajj packages on 2 September. They raised concerns that businesses were not providing authentic documentation and discovered that one business was displaying a fake ATOL logo.

The investigations into hajj fraud are taking place in the wake of City of London’s launch of a national campaign to prevent people from becoming victims of fraud when they search for cost-effective travel packages to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. The national campaign follows the Metropolitan Police Service’s efforts to deliver a similar awareness campaign in 2012.

Hajj fraud has been a significant concern in the Muslim community over the past few years.

The City of London Police observes that 25,000 British Muslims travel for Hajj and spend as much as £125 million on the trip annually. According to police reports, victims of hajj fraud have lost savings between £1,000 and £33,000.

The City of London Police further note that approximately 200 people reported falling victim to a form of Hajj fraud in 2013 to Action Fraud and Trading Standards.


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