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Awareness Campaign Focuses on Loan Sharks

Published on: 5 Aug, 2013
Updated on: 7 Aug, 2013

A week of awareness alerting people to the practices of illegal money lenders, or loan sharks, is being rolled out across the north Guildford area from Monday, August 12.

Loan sharksIt is being hosted by The England Illegal Money Lending Team in partnership with Guildford Borough and Surrey County Councils, with other local agencies also taking part.

With an estimated 310,000 households in the UK borrowing from unlicensed lenders or loan sharks as they are more commonly known, illegal money lending is a problem across the country.

Anyone who operates a money lending business without a licence from the Office of Fair Trading is acting illegally. The England Illegal Money Lending Team is cracking down on unlicensed lenders who…

  • Rarely offer paperwork so those who borrow from them are kept in the dark about how much they still owe.
  • Can charge extortionate rates of interest – rates of 131,000% APR have been seen.
  • Add additional amounts to the debt so the borrowers struggle to repay.
  • Take items as security. These items could even include passports and bank cards.
  • Resort to extreme methods to reclaim their debts. This could mean threats, intimidation, violence or worse.

One victim spoke out saying:  “I couldn’t afford to pay my bills and the rent as I had to pay the loan shark so life was getting pretty desperate. He said ‘pay me don’t feed the children.’  The kids have been subjected to a hostel and attended five schools. It nearly cost me my marriage.”

Loan sharks are not a community service and should never be used under any circumstances. Many loan sharks start out as a friend to their borrower but quickly change.

If you know anyone lending money illegally, or have borrowed from a loan shark, speak to us in confidence.

Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222

Text ‘loan shark + your message’ to 60003

E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk

Private message us at www.facebook.com/stoploansharks

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