Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Trading Standards: Borrowing Money From Illegal Money Lenders (Guest Post)

If you are having financial difficulties or wish to borrow money quickly, it may be tempting to borrow money from illegal money lenders,  known as ‘loan sharks’, who lend cash without asking questions about your financial situation.  Trading Standards urge you to avoid such lenders and assure you that there are safe, reliable lenders that you can use.

Loan sharks may call at your door or you might hear about them from other people. At first they seem friendly and helpful and it might seem like a quick and easy way to borrow money. The trouble is that these people usually charge huge interest on their loan, meaning you have to pay back much more than you borrowed and far more than you can afford. With no paperwork to record what you are expected to repay, a loan of a few hundred pounds can soon lead to a demand to repay thousands of pounds - and the debt can quickly become too much to ever repay. If you struggle to keep up the repayments, loan sharks may use intimidation, threats and even violence to ensure you find the money somehow. It is believed that around 310,000 households in the UK currently owe money to loan sharks.

Luckily there are safe places you can borrow money from, even if you have financial difficulties. These lenders stick to the law, make it clear from the start the total amount you will need to repay and collect your repayments in a lawful way. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) can advise you which lenders are most suitable for you. You can find your nearest Bureau by visiting www.citizensadvice.org.uk or by calling 08444 111 444.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team was set up because of the misery and fear that loan sharks cause. Cambridgeshire County Council are working with this team and local District Councils, to tackle loan sharks in the county, raise awareness of them and to support their victims.

If you know of any loan sharks operating in the area, the England Illegal Money Lending Team wants to hear from you. Call 0300 555 2222, text 'loan shark + a message' to 60003 or email reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk. Lines are open 24/7 and your details will be kept confidential.

If you already owe money to a loan shark the Illegal Money Lending team can offer advice and support. So don’t suffer in silence, contact the team using the details above.