Help available to Notts loan shark victims who have been bitten over the festive period
Nottinghamshire victims who have fallen into deep waters with a loan shark during the festive season are being encouraged to report their experience to a national team supported by the County Council’s Trading Standards team.
The Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) – a national team that investigates and prosecutes loan sharks – works with local councils, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Police to crackdown on illegal money lending.
January is the time of year where loan sharks start to bite and chase victims for the first repayment on a Christmas loan.
Due to people being short of money, some borrowers might fail to meet the first settlement and receive threats from the lender. This is when a loan shark’s true colours and motives begin to show.
The team – who run a 24-hour hotline all year round – are made up of investigators and support officers who meet with victims on a daily basis and build up prosecution files to stop loan sharks in their deceiving tracks.
Victims who have been bitten over the festive period or who are currently being put through a miserable time because of a loan shark are being urged to contact the IMLT to report what is happening.
The team will take information anonymously and in confidence and victims do not have to give their name and an officer will go through your options first before taking the report.
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “January is a difficult month for some people. It can be even more of a glum time for loan shark victims as lenders start chasing them for the first repayment on their Christmas loan. We want to reassure victims that they have not broken the law and help and support is available. If you or someone you know has been bitten by a loan shark during the festive period, please call us on 0300 555 2222 or visit www.stoploansharks.uk.”
Councillor Gordon Wheeler, Vice-Chairman of Communities and Place Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council, added: "Many people experience the ‘money hangover’ this time of year if they’ve overspent over Christmas, but for loan shark victims it can be a very scary time as the threats and intimidation start if they had a Christmas loan.
“We urge them not to suffer in silence and report their experience to the national team.”
A loan shark is someone who lends money without the correct authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It is a criminal offence to lend money without authorisation and can lead to a 2-year prison sentence and/or £5,000 fine.
Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 378 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 325 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £71.9 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 26,500 people.
To report a loan shark call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222, text a report to 07860 022116, visit www.stoploansharks.co.uk or email email@example.com