Put Loan Sharks on the naughty list this Christmas

All I Want For Christmas Image 1

GCH are proud to support Stop Loan Sharks Week 2021. The theme of the campaign this year, running from 29th November to 5th December, is “All I want for Christmas”. Due to Christmas being a particularly pricey time of year and with lockdown and restrictions a thing of the past, this could be one of the most expensive festive seasons yet. Because of this you may consider taking out a loan. Loans Sharks know this and might use it to their advantage to target people that they think are likely to want to borrow money.

Research conducted by the England Illegal Money Lending Team found that 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.

This year there are likely more families impacted financially and emotionally by the pandemic and unfortunately, illegal money lenders will look to take advantage of people when cash is tight and mislead them into thinking it is the only solution.

Loan sharks rarely give paperwork, exorbitant extra amounts and interest payments are usually added at random, and items including passports, bank cards and driving licences are taken as security on the loans.

As the debts often cannot legally be enforced in many cases the loan sharks will resort to threats, violence and other bully tactics to extort money from people.

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).