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Saudi students in UK ‘exploited by fake travel agency’

Saudi students in Britain have been scammed into giving out their account information, and stolen from.

Published: Updated:

Saudi students in Britain have complained about a fake travel agency that apparently has their information and is using it to steal from their bank accounts.

Saudi PhD student Saleh Bin Mayouf said the victims would receive calls from a company claiming they were a British travel agency offering cheap flights for students.

He said: “They spoke English in an Asian accent and had a database of all the Saudi students in Britain.

“They would tell the students their name and their family members’ names and would offer cheap flight tickets to Saudi Arabia costing SR1,500 when the usual price was SR4,000.” He added many students gave them their bank details to purchase the tickets and that is when the company would access their account and steal their money.

“A series of incidents occurred eight months ago and then stopped for a while. However, the phone calls have returned and Saudi volunteers in Britain have been tweeting about the agency to warn others. I think the Saudi Cultural Bureau in England should do something about it.”

Student Naif Al-Saeed wondered where the company got its database of Saudi students in Britain. “The database is with the Saudi Cultural Bureau. The travel agency must have either cooperated with the bureau or the bureau’s website and intranet were hacked. The Bureau is responsible for tracking down the hackers and compensating the students who have fallen victim to the scam.”

Student A. Al-Otaibi said the agency stole SR1,390 from his account. He said: “They called me and were very convincing and knowledgeable about our culture and traditions. I thought they were professionals but they stole from my account right after I gave them my details.”

Student Ahad Al-Jarf said the agency called her on her private number and knew her name and last name. “The information this agency has is from an official directorate. They kept bothering me until I told them I don’t plan to go to Saudi Arabia anytime soon. I just wanted them to leave me alone.”