BEAT THE LOAN SHARKS – BITE BACK!
The Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit (WIMLU) is warning residents who may be finding it difficult to make ends meet not to make the mistake of turning to loan sharks, who are even worse than doorstep or payday lenders. These illegal lenders operate without a consumer credit licence, and prey on people who are vulnerable – whether because of poverty or debt, or difficulties in their lives such as addiction or health problems.
Loan sharks charge extortionate interest (WIMLU says that 150,000% APR is not unheard of!) and adding on penalty payments as and when they want. “Sharks don’t give you paperwork explaining the terms of the loan, and you have to keep paying them back until they decide you can stop. They may appear friendly when they offer the loan, and when you pay – it’s when you can’t pay that you see the other side of them”, the WIMLU team explains.
Be aware – more than half the loan sharks prosecuted by WIMLU are female.
Loan sharks use threats and sometimes violence to make sure their victims keep paying – the helpful person who offers to lend you some cash may not be such a good guy.
WIMLU urges residents to make sure that anyone offering to lend money has a consumer credit licence. If you are a loan shark victim, or think there may be a shark operating nearby then contact WIMLU on the 24 hour Hotline:
Telephone: 0300 123 3311. You can telephone anonymously if you want.
Specialist client liaison officers will support and assist victims, advising on debt and other problems. “Loan sharks should be warned,” says WIMLU, “we are determined to stamp out this crime.”