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Steer clear of loan sharks this Christmas

Steer clear of loan sharks this Christmas

People are being warned of the dangers of borrowing from loan sharks in the run up to Christmas.   Wiltshire Council is working in partnership with The England Illegal Money Lending Team and other partner agencies across England to advise people to be cautious when borrowing money.   Loan sharks lend money without the correct permission from the Financial Conduct Authority. They may initially appear friendly and helpful, however this behaviour soon changes once money is owed. Loan sharks will commonly resort to bullying tactics such as violence and intimidation to enforce repayment, causing borrowers misery and stress.   They rarely provide paperwork on the loans they give out and will often refuse to tell the borrower how much they owe, the period they have to pay it back by and how much interest they are being charged.     Nationally, the England Illegal Money Lending Team have secured 368 prosecutions, leading to over 318 years’ worth of custodial sentences. The team have also written off over £71 million of illegal debt.    Jerry Wickham, cabinet member for public protection said: “It’s vital loan sharks are reported as soon as possible. This time of year is particularly profitable for them as they prey on people trying to cope with the pressures of Christmas. They often target people who feel like they’ve got nowhere else to go. I urge anyone who is struggling to manage financially to look at alternatives, such as credit unions and would also advise speaking to Citizens Advice.”   Residents are being encouraged to get talking about loan sharks on social media during Christmas by using the designated hashtag #StopLoanSharks   Keep up with the latest news stories on Twitter (@LoanSharkNews) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject)   Get in touch by calling the team’s 24 hour hotline on 0300 555 2222 or email reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk


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