We’re asking those of you who may be struggling this Christmas and looking for ways to pay for the extra costs not to turn to loan sharks.
Loan sharks are people who operate illegally without a consumer credit authority and prey on people who are vulnerable – whether because of poverty or debt, or difficulties in their lives such as addiction or health problems. When money is tight, the offer of ready cash – especially with Christmas round the corner – could appear very attractive.
The Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit (WIMLU) is the government agency which investigates and prosecutes loan sharks and they warn that loan sharks will rip off borrowers by charging extortionate interest (WIMLU says that 400,000% APR is not unheard of!) and adding on penalty payments as and when they want.
“There is help available”
Roger Mapleson, Trading Standards and licensing Lead, said: “Sharks don’t give you paperwork explaining the terms of the loan. You have to keep paying them back until they decide you can stop. They may seem like your best mate when they offer the loan, and when you pay – but if you can’t pay, they will add yet more to the debt and use threats, intimidation and violence to secure further payments. One of our primary concerns is that the level of fear can be so great that victims are too afraid to report or seek help. The message to anyone in this situation is that there is help available. You can report in confidence to the illegal moneylending team who can support you and tackle the criminals.
“But I need help over Christmas so what else can I do?”.
There are far cheaper and safer way of getting a loan – you can use your Credit Union.
- Easy application
- Low interest rates
- Quick decisions
- No early repayment penalties
You can find out more and how to apply here (https://www.cambriancu.com/en/)
If you are struggling with debt and don’t know what to do, there is help for you to get your money under control. Contact the Consumer Advice Line on 03454040506.
WIMLU urges Wrexham residents to make sure that anyone offering to lend money has a consumer credit authority. If you are a loan shark victim, or think there may be a shark operating nearby, phone WIMLU on the 24 hour Hotline: 0300 123 3311. You can phone 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.”
You can email the WIMLU on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0300 123 3311 for further information.
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