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Loan Sharks

By Gill Gray (Town Clerk/RFO) Westgate-on-Sea Town Council

Thursday, 24 November 2022

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Westgate-on-Sea Town Council Contributor

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• Did you know nearly one in ten people turned to loan sharks to cover the costs of Christmas last year?

• More than half of victims turned to illegal money lenders in order to pay for essentials such as utilities, food and fuel in the first half of 2022.

• New campaign #SleighNoToLoanSharks aims to protect communities from the devastating effects of illegal money lending in the run up to Christmas.

Follow these safety tips to protect yourself and loved ones from loan sharks:

1. If you're struggling to make ends meet and need cash fast, the thought of a loan shark might seem tempting, but remember these lenders are not your friends. Debt can quickly spiral out of control – it's important to think carefully before taking out a loan and consider other options.

2. Never send money or give credit card, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust. This information is valuable so make sure you protect it from criminals who can use it to find and stalk you, harass you or threaten those you love.

3. If you’re thinking about borrowing money, it’s important to check that your lender is genuine. Loan sharks operate illegally without the correct permission from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Do your research first and check the firm or person you're dealing with is listed on the Financial Services Register.

4. When exploitative loan sharks are preying on hardship, it’s vital for people to know there is an ethical, local, not-for-profit alternative available. Credit unions are a lifeline for many people, with their services helping members to save regularly, borrow responsibly and keep track of their finances. There are other community lenders who are mostly not for profit, and who reinvest any surpluses into serving vulnerable customers, which can be found at www.findingfinance.org.uk

5. Getting trapped in a never-ending spiral of debt after borrowing from a loan shark can have devastating consequences, not only on your finances but also on most other aspects of your life, including your mental health, work and relationships with your family and friends. If you're worried about a friend or family member, or if you need help yourself, Stop Loan Sharks can offer confidential advice and support.

Are you worried about a friend or family member who is being taken advantage of by a loan shark? Contact the Stop Loan Sharks 24/7 Helpline on 0300 555 2222 for support or visit www.stoploansharks.co.uk. Live Chat is available on the website between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Be Safe, Be Sure.

Contact Information

Gill Gray (Town Clerk/RFO)

  • 01843 836182
  • 07487 494450

Find Westgate-on-Sea Town Council

78 St Mildreds Road, Westgate-On-Sea, Kent, CT8 8RF

DIRECTIONS

Additional Information

The email address for the Town Clerk is [email protected]