Let’s make it a miserable Christmas for loan sharks
Councillor John Cottee, chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council's Communities Committee
Christmas is a wonderful time of year and, after an extremely difficult 20 months due to Covid-19, it is certainly something many of us are looking forward to.
However, the festive season can also be a miserable time for many individuals and families who struggle to cope with crippling money worries and the financial pressures of Christmas.
Sadly, because of this, people are more susceptible of falling prey to predatory loan sharks to help pay for Christmas presents – and even more so this year after the devastating effects of the pandemic, which has left many individuals and families impacted financially and emotionally.
Research carried out by the Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) – which works with councils like Nottinghamshire County Council to prosecute illegal money lenders – tells us that the festive season is the second highest reason people borrow money from loan sharks after paying for food, rent or mortgage, and utility bills.
Therefore, illegal money lenders will look to take advantage of vulnerable families feeling the financial pinch by using unscrupulous tactics to convince them into believing that taking out a loan with them is the only way to ease their worries.
However, it is vitally important to remember that these lenders operate illegally and can turn quite nasty when making demands from their victims.
That is why I and my colleagues in the Trading Standards team here at the County Council are backing the IMLT’s annual #AllIWantForChristmas campaign to highlight the dangers of using predatory loan sharks.
The campaign runs all this week across Stop Loan Sharks' social media channels and, as well as featuring advice and tips on how to stay safe from illegal money lenders, it also promotes the support available to victims and their families.
Unfortunately, many victims suffer in silence due to fear of reprisals, so it is important their friends or relatives are also able to report a loan shark on their behalf.
If you are experiencing money worries or know of someone who is, please do not hesitate to contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for free, confidential, and impartial advice.
There is also a 24/7 helpline number and details about the Stop Loan Sharks’ website below which have more information and support available for people who are in turmoil at the hands of loan shark.
Christmas is meant to be a wonderful time of the year – so let’s make sure it is, as well as a miserable one for loan sharks operating in our communities.
- Anyone with concerns about illegal money lending can contact the Stop Loan Sharks 24/7 Helpline in confidence on 0300 555 2222. You can also find additional information and support online at www.stoploansharks.co.uk. Live Chat is available on the website 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).