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Don’t get bitten by a loan shark this Christmas

Posted on 15th December, 2016 by Lincoln Against Poverty

With presents to buy and food to serve, Christmas can be an expensive time of year and people may look to take out a loan to see them through the festive season.

As part of the Lincoln Anti-Poverty Strategy, City of Lincoln Council is delivering a Christmas Campaign urging anyone who needs financial help this Christmas and New Year to make sure they use a responsible lender, and don’t risk getting bitten by a loan shark.

Loan sharks offer money illegally and often resort to violence and intimidation to enforce repayment.

Councillor Rosanne Kirk, the council’s Portfolio Holder for Social Inclusion and Community Cohesion, said: “We are supporting the England Illegal Money Lending Team’s campaign to warn people of the dangers of borrowing from loan sharks.

“Christmas can be expensive and quick cash loans can be tempting, but don’t be fooled. Victims of loan sharks will pay more in the long-term, and possibly be exposed to bullying tactics, even violence.

“We would urge people to steer clear of loan sharks and take advantage of the alternatives, such as responsible lenders like Lincolnshire Credit Union, or seek advice from the council’s welfare advice team.”

Loan sharks rarely provide paperwork or are clear about interest. In Manchester, a recent prosecution involved a loan shark who charged victims 4.5 million per cent APR.

You can join the campaign to highlight the dangers of loan sharks by tweeting #StopLoanSharks.

Tony Quigley, Head of Service for the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “We are working with partner organisations and local communities to promote the Stop Loan Sharks message. Our aim is to let those borrowing from loan sharks, especially in the run up to Christmas, know that help is available.

“If you or someone you know has been a victim of a loan shark, we urge you to call our 24-hour hotline on 0300 555 2222 where your call will be handled confidentially by one of our trained officers.”

If you think someone may be in trouble you can report a loan shark by calling 0300 555 2222, texting ‘LOAN SHARK’ and the lender’s details to 60003 or emailing reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk. All reports are confidential and anonymous.

For general money advice call the council’s welfare team on 01522 873382 or email welfare@lincoln.gov.uk