Cautionary advisory to inhabitants: “Do not yield to the allure of loan sharks”

Residents throughout Trafford are being strongly advised to resist the temptation of loan sharks as they bear the financial burden of an extravagant Christmas period. Trafford Council, alongside the Stop Loan Sharks group and other partners, is determined to prevent individuals from resorting to borrowing from illegal money lenders as the cost of living crisis persists following the festive season splurge.

In January, particularly after Christmas, loan sharks often target vulnerable individuals who are desperately seeking a way out of their New Year financial woes. These unscrupulous lenders impose exorbitant interest rates and frequently resort to violence or confiscation of valuables and credit cards when collecting repayments.

It is vital to note that loan sharks operate outside the boundaries of the law and lack authorization from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Those in need of assistance are strongly urged to refrain from accepting loans from illegal lenders. Instead, they should consult the FCA Financial Services register to verify the legitimacy of the lender. Alternatively, joining a credit union such as Manchester Credit Union is a safer and more reliable option.

Cllr James Wright, Trafford Council’s Executive Member for Housing and Advice, emphasized the importance of avoiding loan sharks during the challenging month of January. He stated that loan sharks prey on vulnerable individuals during times of crisis and offer unrealistic sums of money that cannot be repaid. These deceitful lenders target struggling families and falsely portray themselves as the solution to their financial problems. However, loan sharks and other illegal money lenders only push people further into debt and resort to threatening behavior to collect payments. Cllr Wright advised those facing difficulties to seek help from their local credit union instead of turning to loan sharks.

Tony Quigley, the head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, highlighted the deceptive nature of illegal lenders. While they may initially appear helpful, offering an easy way out of financial hardship, they ultimately make their borrowers’ lives miserable. Many borrowers face threats, intimidation, and even violence when they struggle to repay their loans, often resulting in repaying thousands of pounds more than they initially borrowed. The England Illegal Money Lending Team remains committed to working with partners across the country to eradicate these ruthless criminals from our communities.

If you suspect that you have borrowed from a loan shark, you can contact the Illegal Money Lending Team’s 24/7 confidential hotline on 0300 555 2222. Additionally, the Money Advice Service offers free and impartial assistance, with their website providing valuable information on borrowing and managing finances.

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