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Don’t get bitten by loan sharks

Posted on 4th November, 2014 by Lincoln Against Poverty

‘When budgeting for Christmas don’t get caught out – loan sharks may be circling!’

That’s the message of the second phase of Lincoln Against Poverty’s campaign ‘Say no to high cost borrowing’, taking place in the run-up to Christmas, when the financial strain can be a real cause of concern for some families.

Throughout November, posters are being put up advising people not to turn to loan sharks if they need to borrow money. Instead, it urges anyone approached or already involved with one to contact the Illegal Money Lending Team, a Trading Standards project set up to tackle loan sharks and help their victims.

Loan Sharks operate illegally, without the correct permissions from the Financial Conduct Authority and rarely give paperwork, keeping borrowers in the dark as to how much they are paying back.

Anyone who is concerned about debt or getting into financial difficulty can contact Lincoln Citizens Advice Bureau for advice and support.

Tony Quigley, head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “If you or anyone you know has been approached by a loan shark, we need to know.

“The IMLT has prosecuted 310 of these illegal lenders but we know there are more out there and we need your support. Please report them, so we can stop them.

“Loan sharks should never be a consideration if you need to borrow money. We urge you to contact our hotline on 0300 555 2222 with any information – calls are confidential, and can also be anonymous.

“The team also offers victim support for anyone involved with a loan shark. We are here to help you – it’s the loan shark who is in trouble.”

Louise Jardine, Specialist Advice Services Manager at Lincoln CAB, said: “Access to traditional credit is changing and this a reflection of the changes in society. More people than ever are facing difficulties in managing their everyday household budgets.

“Many of our clients seek high interest borrowing because they are not able or do not have access to mainstream lending. They may also be paying more for essential products and services.

“Here at the Lincoln CAB, we not only look at the different strategies that are available when giving debt advice, but we also look at income maximisation and financial inclusion.

“We can assist with any debt present either directly or by referring to a suitable agency. It is never too late to seek advice and support regarding money problems, but there is still a lot of stigma surrounding debt.

“We often see clients at breaking point but our team of highly skilled caseworkers will deal with the problems being faced sensitively.

“We have a lot of information on our website Adviceguide or people can attend one of our drop-in sessions for initial guidance on their situation. Please don’t ignore the situation, get advice and support at the earliest opportunity.”

Anyone who would like to display a poster can download a copy from www.lincolnagainstpoverty.co.uk/say-no

A range of organisations can help people deal with debt and money issues, including
Lincolnshire Credit Union – 01522 873550, City of Lincoln Council – 01522 881188, Christians Against Poverty – 0800 328 0006, Citizens Advice Bureau – 03444 111 444 and Money Advice Service – 0300 500 5000.