CITIZENS ADVICE LIVERPOOL WARNS AGAINST THE DANGERS OF USING LOAN SHARKS
Citizens Advice Liverpool, working with the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), celebrated the end of their exciting loan sharks writing competition with an awards ceremony held at Liverpool Central Library.
Continuing their work with the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), this year Citizens Advice Liverpool ran a writing competition to raise further awareness of the dangers of using loan sharks and how people can get help. The writing project was funded using proceeds of crime money; cash confiscated from loan sharks under money laundering laws.
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said:
“Loan sharking is a despicable crime which causes nothing but harm to our communities. These illegal lenders may appear to be offering a community service but borrowers are often forced to pay back far and above what they have borrowed and can afford. Many victims are subjected to threats, violence and other callous enforcement methods when they are unable to pay the loan shark.
“Agencies such as Citizens Advice Liverpool are the eyes and ears in our communities, and by working closely in partnership with them, we are able to create an effective approach to tackle this crime.
“We urge victims to report loan sharks in confidence on 0300 555 2222. All calls are strictly confidential and you will be offered welfare support while we build a case against the illegal lender.”
A loan shark is someone who lends money without the correct authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Loan sharks are normally known to the victim, deal in cash and they won’t give the victim any paperwork or let them know the APR.
The initial loan is just a hook so loan sharks can sink their teeth into victims and extort them out of hard earned cash. People turn to illegal money lenders for various reasons, frequently for everyday expenses or unexpected costs such as funerals. The debt often spirals because the victim is kept in the dark as to how much they owe and the interest being charged.
Last year, Citizens Advice Liverpool helped 20,000 people with 60,000 different issues and debt concerns continue to be one of the most prominent areas of advice given. Advisers have many real life stories of clients unable to meet their day-to-day needs because they are struggling with debt and mounting bills.
Heather Brent, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice Liverpool, said:
“We are hopeful that by raising awareness of the dangers of loan sharks, people will be less likely to use loan shark services and seek debt advice as soon as possible before their situation spirals out of control.
“If you are currently paying back a loan from a loan shark, you are not committing a crime and will not be in trouble.
“If anyone is feeling worried, anxious or scared to talk about a loan they have taken out from an illegal lender, remember that all of our services are confidential so we urge you to get in touch.”
The awards ceremony was held at Liverpool Central Library on Thursday 26th April. The ceremony included readings by the prize winners from two categories, Poetry & Short stories.
If you or someone you know have been the victim of a loan shark and need debt support, visit www.citizensadviceliverpool.org.uk or call our dedicated debt team on 0300 330 1196. Calls will be answered Mon-Thu 8am-8pm and Fri 8am-4pm. The team can be emailed on firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also call the IMLT on their 24 hour confidential hotline 0300 555 2222 or visit www.stoploansharks.uk. Calls are strictly confidential and victims can remain anonymous.