It’s an expensive time of year and loan sharks prey on people who need access often to smaller sums of money.
Bernicia is an accredited partner of the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) which is recognition of the work we do to help tackle loan sharks.
We help our tenants who need it, such as accessing credit unions which offer small loans at affordable rates.
The #AllIWantForChristmas campaign will run across the Stop Loan Sharks’ and Bernicia’s social media channels until December 5th.
It features advice and tips for the public on how to stay safe from illegal money lenders over the festive period.
Christmas is meant to be the best time of the year – but for many families trapped in spiralling debt and misery by loan sharks that simply isn’t the case.
Research conducted by the IMLT revealed Christmas is the second highest reason people borrow money from loan sharks after paying for essentials such as food, rent or mortgage and utility bills.
Bernicia and the IMLT are determined to make this year better and safer for people.
Tony Quigley, Head of the England IMLT, said: “Illegal money lending is a horrific crime that affects many individuals, their families and entire communities.
“At this time of year people can be more susceptible to falling prey to loan sharks due to the financial pressures of Christmas. Loan sharks will target people who feel under pressure financially and may not be aware of the services that are there to help them.
“Borrowing from a loan shark might feel like your only option when you’re in a pinch and need cash fast this festive season, but it’s important to remember that these lenders operate illegally and can turn quite nasty when demanding payments from victims.
“We encourage anyone with information about this crime to come forward and report. We will provide specialist support and take action against the loan shark. If you need help with money worries, contact your local Citizens Advice for free, confidential and impartial advice.”
Protect yourself and your loved ones from loan sharks this Christmas:
- If you need to borrow money, check the lender is reputable and find out what interest and fees they charge. You can find out whether a money lender is authorised by checking the register on the FCA website at www.fca.org.uk
- Be wary of people you don’t know sending you messages through your social media accounts. Loan sharks might offer you a quick deal, but they will soon trap you in a spiral of debt with extortionate rates of interest.
- Never send money or give credit card, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.
- Be careful about how much personal information you share on social network sites. Loan sharks have been known to use online platforms to find, threaten and control people in debt.
Anyone with concerns about illegal money lending can contact the Stop Loan Sharks 24/7 Helpline in confidence on 0300 555 2222.
You can also find additional information and support online at www.stoploansharks.co.uk. Live Chat is available on the website 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).