Date(s) - 29/11/2021
Research conducted by the Illegal Money Lending Team found that Christmas is the second highest reason people borrow money from loan sharks after paying for essentials such as food, rent or mortgage, and utility bills.
This year there are likely more families impacted financially and emotionally by the pandemic and unfortunately, illegal money lenders will look to take advantage of people when cash is tight and mislead them into thinking it is the only solution.
People are being advised to watch out for warning signs of loan sharks and report them if they are approached by one. Loan sharks rarely give paperwork, exorbitant extra amounts and interest payments are usually added at random, and items including passports, bank cards and driving licences are taken as security on the loans.
As the debts often cannot legally be enforced in many cases the loan sharks will resort to threats, violence and other bully tactics to extort money from people.
Protect yourself and your loved ones from loan sharks this Christmas.
If you need to borrow money, check the lender is reputable and find out what interest and fees they charge. You can find out whether a money lender is authorised by checking on the FCA website www.fca.org.uk
Be wary of people you don’t know sending you messages through your social media accounts. Loan sharks might offer you a quick deal, but they will soon trap you in a spiral of debt with extortionate rates of interest.
Never send money or give credit card, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.
Be careful about how much personal information you share on social network sites. Loan sharks have been known to use online platforms to find, threaten and control people in debt.
Anyone with concerns about illegal money lending can contact the Stop Loan Sharks 24/7 Helpline in confidence on 0300 555 2222.
You can also find additional information and support online www.stoploansharks.co.uk
Live Chat is available on the website 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).