Biting Back At Loan Sharks
The misery inflicted by loan sharks is being tackled nationwide by a specialist agency but the problem is widespread and we can all play a part in thwarting the practices of illegal money-lenders.
Doncaster West Development Trust has joined forces with the Illegal Money-Lending Team for England to support its vital work in raising awareness of the dangers of loan sharks and to give people the confidence to report them.
Loan sharks ensnare desperate borrowers, invariably increase their debts and extract repayments with threats or violence, wreaking havoc on the lives of people already in difficult circumstances.
Intimidation is their hallmark and they thrive on striking fear into vulnerable people who feel they can’t escape their clutches and have nowhere to turn. But this is not the case because there are practical alternatives and ways to fight back.
As dangerous as these criminals are, we need to reduce their impact on our communities. An estimated 310,000 households across the country are in debt to loan sharks but, in recent years, many criminals have been prosecuted or jailed thanks to the work of illegal money-lending teams and the courage of residents who report them.
A dedicated hotline number is available to anyone with knowledge or experience of the culprits and people can be assured that the details they provide will be treated in absolute confidence.
People with information can ring the 24/7 confidential hotline on 0300 555 2222.
Remember the following to stop loan sharks in their tracks and ensure they don’t get rich at your expense:
- Loan sharks appear friendly and helpful at first but this in just an act to gain your confidence and custom. They will often resort to cruel methods to increase their return on the loan and intimidate borrowers into keeping quiet.
- Unlike a responsible lender, they rarely supply any paperwork.
- Loan sharks charge exorbitant interest rates - the equivalent of 131,000 per cent APR has been seen. This means that a small loan can eventually turn into a debt of thousands of pounds.
- They may take items from you such as passports, driving licences or even bank and post office cards with the PIN to withdraw money directly from your account.
Low cost credit and free debt advice is available from various sources. Contact our money management team on 01709 866466, South Yorkshire Credit Union on 0303 0300010 or the National Debtline on 0808 808 4000 for practical guidance and information.