Blackburn Hajj agent claims ‘WhatsApp hacked’ as £9k ‘goes missing’

Friday, June 16, 2023

The couple from Canada had booked and transferred the money to an account belonging to the company Aman E Feezan Limited after getting in touch with Shefqut Munir of Blackburn.

Millions from across the world are travelling to the annual Hajj to the city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia in the coming week.

The Hajj will culminate in the festival of Eid at the end of June.

Muhammad and Anum from Canada said their Hajj plans had been left in ‘disarray’ and accused the travel company of not honouring the booking despite taking their money.

The travel agent, Shefqut, also spelt Shafkat claims to have ‘no knowledge’ of the money but admits to speaking and corresponding with the couple.

He also admits to sending the correct bank account but says ‘a hacker’ has intercepted the money and has reported it to Action Fraud, and is awaiting an outcome.

In screenshots forwarded to us the couple first make contact via Facebook on the account Saffar Habeeb and then correspond via WhatsApp on the company’s official number.

The couple from Canada ask to go on the Hajj via Pakistani passports and are forwarded details and prices as advertised by the company Aman E Feezan.

Later, the company contacts the couple and tells them are ‘everything okay and limited spaces left’.

The couple then ask which account the money is to be transferred too.

A Natwest account is sent on May 10 and then the couple are told again ‘everything okay four space left’ on May 12.

After this date the couple are told to transfer money to a Barclays account listed as S Munir Limited with an address of Mulberry Walk, Blackburn, but then request further information.

It appears there are issues with the transfer of money. Then the Natwest account is sent again and confirmed as being correct.

They then make a £500 payment to check if the transfer has gone through on May 16. A £4,100 on May 17 and £4,870 on May 20 making up total of £9.470.

Later, the couple request further information and ask ‘What’s going on brother? We need your help why are you not replying?’.

They again later text asking for a refund saying ‘you have ruined our trip’.

They are then forwarded a package price and told to book to which they reply: ‘We bought this package and paid already’.

They then send all payment confirmations which lists the business account name. Mr Munir then claims someone else has ‘got this’ payment and not him, and says his WhatsApp account has been compromised.

Muhammad said: “We have been waiting many years and saved up our money to go to the Hajj.

"The whole situation has left us heartbroken and caused us a lot of stress.

“We have sent the money and made the booking and we talked to him over the phone many times.

“We feel it was the same person as his voice was very distinct. Then to be told he had no idea who we are. I was shocked.”

The couple, who have a disabled child, said they have now had to sell one of their cars.

They also questioned the security procedures the company had in place when liaising with customers.

Muhammad added: “We just want our money back. I cannot believe this has happened to us. We put our trust in the company.”

Mr Munir, who is listed as a director of Aman E Feezan Limited of Mosley Walk, Blackburn, admits to liaising with the couple but then forwarded his bank statement which does not list any such payments.

The bank account number and sort code is the same as that listed by the couple.

He said he made a complaint to Action Fraud and claimed to being a victim of fraud himself, saying his WhatsApp account had been ‘hacked’.

He said: “The couple did contact me and I liaised with them explaining what is what.

"I sent them the bank details and when they said they were having trouble to transfer I sent another.

“I have sent you proof of statement showing nothing is received in my account.

“My account was hacked as I accidentally left it open which the scammer hacked into.

“I did not have access from May 12 to June 4 to my business WhatsApp which I had to log out of all devices and reset.

“The police are investigating this with the fraud department I am awaiting their response if the money is found anywhere they will be returned to them.

“Both of us have been victims, my reputation is at stake and it’s not right to accuse anyone till it’s not proven by appropriate authorities.

“I can’t hold any responsibility as it’s not come into my account; let the authorities decide the outcome, but badmouthing someone without any outcome from authorities is not good.”