Don’t get bitten this Christmas

Tuesday, 21st November 2017

Christmas is a prime time for loan sharks to circulate our estates and prey on vulnerable people who may be tempted into borrowing money.

Photo caption: Representatives from Karbon Homes, Think Families, NE First Credit Union and local councillors have all pledged their support to stamp out loan sharks in their communities by signing a partners’ agreement.

The clear message from Karbon this Christmas is don’t be tempted to borrow from a loan shark and think about the consequences this could lead to. You might find yourself short of money during the busy festive season but what may seem like a small loan, could result in you paying back significantly more, well into the New Year and beyond.

A loan shark is someone who lends money illegally without the correct authorisation. They normally appear to be friendly at first, but this behaviour soon changes once monies are owed. Not only could you end up paying extortionate interest rates, they may use threatening behaviour and sometimes violence towards you.

Christmas is always an expensive time of the year – even more for those who may be struggling financially and the idea of borrowing money in the lead up to Christmas could be even more tempting.

Karbon Homes and other partners, including local councilors recently pledged their support to stamp out loan sharks operating within their communities and will work in collaboration to tackle issues of illegal money lending. The initiative is part of England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) to raise awareness of loan sharks and signpost victims to the appropriate help and support that is available.

The IMLT are a law enforcement agency who investigate and prosecute loan sharks. They have a dedicated team of LIAISE officers who provide help and support to local residents that may be affected by illegal money lenders.

Karen Morrris, Assistant Director of Customer & Community Engagement at Karbon Homes, said: “Loan sharks are not welcome on any of our estates and although these cases are rare, we are working closely with IMLT and the Police to target these criminals who prey on vulnerable residents, particularly at this time of year.

“We are committed to supporting our residents by raising awareness of the help and support that is available as an alternative to borrowing money from illegal lenders.  Loan sharks trap borrowers into a spiral of debt, often resorting to extreme methods of intimidation, threats and violence to enforce repayment.”

If you are a victim of illegal money lending or need to speak to somebody about advice and support around debt and borrowing money, please contact Karbon Homes in confidence by calling 0300 300 1505.

To report a loan shark, please contact the England Illegal Money Lending Team in confidence on their 24-hr confidential hotline 0300 555 2222 or via their website www.stoploansharks.co.uk

Your call will be handled by a trained IMLT officer and all information will be treated in the strictest confidence.