Dudley Bites Back Against Loan Sharks
The England Illegal Money Lending Team are working with Dudley Council and West Midlands Police to raise awareness of loan sharks and the impact that they have.
Work includes staff training, raising awareness of loan sharks with members of the public and promoting the work of Credit Unions.
Local agencies will be signing a charter pledging a zero tolerance approach to loan sharks at the Dudley: Have Your Say event on Wednesday 28th September. This event is taking place at the Council House in Dudley. Doors open at 6.00 p.m. and the event starts at 6.30 p.m.
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team said: “We are continuing to crack down on illegal money lending and bringing those who break the law to justice. It’s important to remember that loan sharks are only motivated by greed so should never be used.
We would urge anyone with information about loan sharking or victims of loan sharks to contact the team on 0300 555 2222.”
Loan sharks operate illegally, without the correct permissions from the Financial Conduct Authority. These criminals usually appear friendly at first but quickly trap their borrowers into spiralling debt. As the debts can’t legally be enforced many lenders will resort to the most extreme and callous methods to enforce repayment.
Paperwork is rarely offered so victims are often in the dark as to how much they are actually paying. Exorbitant extra amounts and interest are added at random- the highest interest seen by an illegal lender was equivalent to 131,000% APR. In some cases the loan sharks have been known to take items as security including passports, driving licences and bank or post office cards with the PIN in order to withdraw directly from borrowers’ accounts.
Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 339 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to 225 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off over £63.5 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 27,500 people.
Message from Councillor Gaye Partridge, cabinet member for community safety
“Loan sharks aren’t licensed to lend money legally, and they will often resort to the most extreme methods to enforce repayment.
“Our advice is that you should never go to a loan shark. They do not provide a community service, they are simply out to make money. If you suspect that there is one operating in your area please report it.”
Credit unions are recommended as a safe, alternative lending and saving facility. To find out about Castle & Crystal Credit Union in Dudley call 01384 815771 or visit www.castleandcrystal.co.uk
Message from West Midlands Police
Although some loan sharks resort to intimidation and even violence, they are not beyond the law. Any lender – licensed or unlicensed – who harasses you is breaking the law. Some loan sharks will threaten you by saying you will be prosecuted and even sent to prison if you don't pay up. This can't happen – an unlicensed lender such as a loan shark has no legal right to recover the debt. In fact, they have no legal right to make you pay the loan back at all – because the loan is illegal.
If you have been approached by someone you think is a loan shark, you need to report them and contact the police if you are in immediate danger.
To report a loan shark:
Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222
Text a report to 078600 22116
Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject
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