In Wales, thousands of people borrow money from loan sharks each year. Borrowing even a small amount of money for a fridge or washing machine can mean paying back thousands of pounds in interest.
The Illegal Money Lending Unit was set up by central government at the end of 2007 to search out and prosecute loan sharks throughout Wales, and operates as part of Trading Standards. These illegal lenders operate without a consumer credit licence, and prey on people who are vulnerable – whether because of poverty or debt, or difficulties in their lives such as addiction or health problems.
Loan sharks will rip off borrowers by charging sky-high interest and adding on penalty payments as and when they want. Sharks don’t give you paperwork explaining the terms of the loan and you have to keep paying them back until they decide you can stop. They may appear friendly when they offer the loan, and when you pay – it’s when you can’t pay that you see the other side of them.
It can get worse than just being ripped off. Loan sharks use threats and sometimes violence to make sure their victims keep paying.
If you’ve been a loan shark victim or know a victim, call the 24 hour hotline for help and advice in the strictest confidence – 0300 123 3311. Click here for further details.
CCHA are also very interested to hear about problems tenants might be facing with loan sharks in their areas. A phone call to our Anti-Social Behaviour team can help deal with the problem – 029 2046 8442.