Are you going to haj this year. Beware of haj fraud. Every year, millions of Muslims from all the world will celebrate hajj. In 2013, this event will be held on 13 October. However for many pilgrims to Mecca, from all over the world, preparations begins well in advance.
From UK as an example, there will also be many fraudsters looking to take advantage of Hajj and exploit its unique attractions. Last year there were 44 frauds reported to the police, however, the real scale of this criminality is thought to be much higher.
Hajj fraud - How It happens
Numerous tour operators surface online usually offering flights, accommodation and visa based packages to Mecca, often offering large reductions.
Aspiring pilgrims are asked to payment in cash prior to their trip, expecting to receive their tickets and travel documents nearer to the departure date.
However by the time October arrives, there will unfortunately be some people who have not received their tickets and can not track down the tour operator who supposedly booked their trip.
London police has put in place a plan to counter this criminal offence by working closely with the Muslim community and the law enforcement by raising awareness of haj fraud and the pitfalls of booking through an unauthorized or illegitimate tour operator.
This initiative will focus on a week of action for early part of October in the areas of the UK most affected by Hajj fraud.