The England Illegal Money Lending Team, who investigate and prosecute illegal money lending offences, are working locally in partnership with Dorset Trading Standards and Wyvern Credit Union to raise awareness of the dangers of borrowing from unauthorised money lenders, more commonly known as loan sharks and encourage people to say no to illegal money lenders and look at saving for the future.
Through a joint initiative the Team will use proceeds of crime money, confiscated from convicted illegal money lenders, to sponsor new credit union accounts.
The first fifty people who join the credit union during the promotion and make at least three monthly payments of at least £10 into their account before November will qualify for a savings boost of £25.00
An estimated 310,000 households nationally are borrowing from illegal money lenders, many of whom charge exorbitant rates of interest to trap people into a spiral of debt. Many loan sharks will resort to bully tactics, such as violence, threats or intimidation to enforce repayment.
People are urged never to use loan sharks who may refuse to tell the borrower how much they owe or how long they will be repaying for or the APR rate. Often they do not give paperwork and loans will just keep growing even if the borrower is making regular payments. These criminals may appear friendly at first, but resort to violent, threatening or extreme methods when payments are not met.
To report a loan shark:
Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222
Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject
We are extremely pleased that financial proceeds recovered by the enforcement work of the Illegal Money Lending Team, from the criminal activity of loan sharks, can be used to support people locally in Dorset and elsewhere in such a positive way.
Ivan Hancock, Trading Standards Service Manager for Dorset County Council