Gloucester ‘Bite Back’ at Loan Sharks with Week of Action by Kate | Gloucester News Centre - http://gloucesternewscentre.co.uk/
The England Illegal Money Lending Team, who investigates and prosecutes loan sharks, has teamed up with Gloucester City Homes to launch a week of action that will aim to raise awareness of the dangers of loan sharks.
Throughout ‘Bite Back’ Week, The Illegal Money Lending Team will encourage the people of Gloucester to avoid using loan sharks and to report the crime if they have been a victim. In conjunction with ‘Bite Back’ Week, Gloucester City Homes will also provide advice and support to residents in the area on safer and more assured ways to borrow money.
Commencing Monday 15th August, Gloucester’s ‘Bite Back’ Week will begin with a ‘Hello Bus’ from The Gateway, which will travel around Matson between 11am to 1pm, offering advice and guidance on how occupants in the area can avoid using loan sharks, joined by a special appearance from “Sid the Shark”.
Residents and local partners wishing to gain advice on how to avoid loan sharks are also invited to a free afternoon session at Baptist Church, Finlay Road, White City between 1pm – 3pm on Friday 19th August. During the event, “Sid the Shark”, England Illegal Money Lending Team’s Mascot will be handing out freebies and information leaflets and a light lunch will be provided by the Gloucester City Homes Team.
Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team comments: “It is imperative to team up with housing associations like Gloucester City Homes as these illegal money lenders cause nothing but harm to our communities. Illegal Money Lending is a despicable crime and we are determined to combat loan sharks that may be operating in the area. We remind residents that these loan sharks may appear friendly at first, and make out that they’re offering a community service but borrowers are often forced to pay back far more than they have borrowed, nor can afford.
“Many are subjected to threats, violence or other callous settlement methods. We urge anyone who has been a victim of a loan shark to report them in confidence on 0300 555 2222, as we can help bring them to justice”
An estimated 310,000 households across the country are in debt to a loan shark.
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 including threats, violence and intimidation.
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 or even bank or post office cards with the PIN in order to withdraw directly from borrowers’ accounts.
Charlotte Simmons, Gloucester City Home’s Financial Inclusion and Employability Coordinator comments: “Gloucester City Homes is proud to champion such a relevant and important cause. The events taking place aim to increase awareness of illegal money lending, stop loan sharks in Gloucester and support those who have been dealing with them.”
Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 347 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 227 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £63.5 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 25,500 people.
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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