Homes Plus is supporting a national campaign to make people aware of the dangers of loan sharks and highlight the support that is available.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) has been running their national Stop Loan Sharks Week campaign.
The campaign aims to highlight the help available to those who have been targeted by loan sharks, as well as increase the awareness of this hidden crime.
A loan shark is someone who lends cash as an unauthorised business. Anyone can be a victim of a loan shark – your family, friends, neighbours and even you.
This year’s theme is ‘People pretending to be something they are not’. IMLT picked this theme as 56 per cent of the people they have supported over the past year believed the illegal lender was their friend when they took out the loan. They want to encourage people to question if this is the case.
They have also heard of lenders pretending to be associated with legal lenders that have closed and want to highlight that there are places you can go to check.
If you have borrowed money from a loan shark, you haven’t broken the law they have.
Remember loan sharks often:
- offer you a cash loan but do not give you any paperwork
- take your benefit or bank card as security on the loan
- don’t tell you when you will finish paying
- increase the amount you owe even if you are making regular payments
- threaten or use violence to get money from you
Employment & Money Advice Manager, Sue Sanders, said: “With the rising cost of living, many people are unfortunately going through difficult and worrying times right now.
“However bad your financial situation is, borrowing money from a loan shark is not the answer. They target the most vulnerable people in our society and use manipulative tactics to trap them in a cycle of debt and fear.
“If you have borrowed money from a loan shark, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed.
“The safety of our communities depends on victims coming forward and reporting loan sharks to the authorities.
“If you are struggling with your bills, please talk to us. Our expert advisors are here to help.”
If you think you may be involved with a loan shark, call the England Illegal Money Lending Team hotline in confidence.
They can discuss with you any worries you may have and will listen, give information and offer advice on your situation. They help people make sense of what is happening to them and will explain to you the choices you can make and help you take back control from the loan shark.
Call them on: 0300 555 2222
Text: 07860022116 with your message
Report a loan shark online at: www.stoploansharks.co.uk
If you are ever considering turning to a loan shark for help, please talk to us. Our expert advisors are ready to support you.
For more information visit www.stoploansharks.co.uk