With the festive season fast approaching, the Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) are urging people to not borrow from loan sharks.
The IMLT – a national team that investigate and prosecute loan sharks – work closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), local Trading Standards and the police to crackdown on illegal money lending.
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “Christmas can be a difficult time for some families; the cost and added pressures may tempt some people into borrowing from a loan shark. We hope to make make people think twice before using an illegal money lender and we are encouraging those in the grip of a loan shark to come forward and speak to us; our confidential Stop Loan Sharks hotline will be active over Christmas and New Year."
“Loan sharks are criminals who prey on vulnerable communities and fleece their victims out of hard earned cash, often through intimidation and violence. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a loan shark, we urge you to seek help by contacting us on 0300 555 2222 or visit www.stoploansharks.uk”
With an estimated 310,000 households in the UK borrowing from loan sharks every year, the team are warning people to avoid unauthorised lenders at all costs amid fears that illegal loans could result in hard up families repaying the lender into the New Year and beyond.
How to spot a loan shark this Christmas
- A loan shark might:
- Offer little or no paperwork on a loan, such as a credit agreement or record of payments
- Refuse to give borrowers information, such as the interest rate or how much you owe
- Take items as security, such as passports, bank cards and driving licenses
- Increase the debt or add additional charges at any time
- Refuse to allow you to settle your debt
- Get nasty – they might use intimidation, threats or violence to enforce repayment
Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 380 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 328 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £72.5 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 27,000 victims.
If you are worried about your finances this Christmas, please Contact Us. We can help.