Trading Standards - Consumer Advice

Illegal Money Lending

Illegal Money Lending Team

Stop Loan Sharks

If money is tight....please don’t be tempted to use a loan shark

 

READ - A Real Life story of a Loan Shark borrower

 

People in the Isle of Wight are coming together to say ‘no’ to loan sharks.

The Trading Standards South East illegal money lending team and Isle of Wight Council are joining forces to tackle the scourge of loan sharks.  The specialist team has been authorised to operate in the area and will investigate and prosecute loan sharks for illegal lending and related criminal activity, in partnership with Isle of Wight Council.

The government-funded team will work closely with partners such as credit unions, housing associations, the health sector and voluntary groups to raise awareness of the dangers of loan sharks and how to spot the warning signs.  They will work closely with victims to help them understand and regain control of their finances and support witnesses through court cases.

While there is no evidence to suggest that there is a problem with loan sharks on the island, the team will be ready to investigate any allegations and if there is an issue, they can take action with support from the council’s Trading Standards Service.

People often start by borrowing a small amount but have to pay excessive interest rates and end up paying back far more than they imagined.  In fact, they are often not aware of how much they pay as loan sharks rarely provide paperwork or repayment plans or explain what interest rates they are charging.

It is also unfortunate that loan sharks have been known to resort to violence and intimidation to get back what they think they are owed.  Having the illegal money lending team available to investigate allegations on the island will act as a deterrent to any loan sharks while also providing reassurances to the local community.

The team will be asking people to stop and think:

  • Have you, or anyone you know, been offered a cash loan?
  • Have you been threatened when you couldn’t pay?
  • Has your benefit card been taken from you?
  • Does what you owe keep growing even though you are making payments?
  • Do you know the total amount owed, the APR or how to cancel?

Nationally, the 'Stop Loan Sharks' project has so far helped more than 11,500 victims, written off more than £31million of illegal debt, secured more than 60 years of prison sentences and is pursuing over £10million of criminal assets through the courts.

We want to reassure residents that support is available.

To find out more about the Illegal Money Lending Team Loan Shark Project, please click here.

Brand new resources have been developed by teachers to warn young people about Loan Sharks funded by prosecuted Loan Sharks through the Proceeds of Crime Act.  The Illegal Money Lending Team is a Trading Standards project set up to prosecute Loan Sharks and help their victims. The following resources have been developed to raise awareness of the help available and, just as importantly, to prevent people using illegal money lenders from a young age.

The materials contribute to a variety of curriculum area, such as Maths, English, PSHEe, Drama, Art and Design and cover all key stages.  They are pfeg quality marked and also deliver many core learning objectives from the pfeg primary and secondary planning frameworks including:

For primary schools: lessons about keeping your money safe, where does money come from and the difference between need and want.  It also introduces the idea of saving and looks at issues around borrowing and lending possessions and money.

For secondary schools, lessons about safer lending and borrowing that reflect key financial inclusion objectives around when and how to borrow, values around money, saving and what can go wrong if you don’t make the right choice.  There are lessons on credit, shopping around to get the best credit deal and the dangers of borrowing from Loan Sharks.

Resources:

www.vimeo.com/stoploansharks

Lessons about keeping our money safe, 5 to 11 year olds (PDF,8.03Mb, 46 pages).

Lessons in safer lending and borrowing for 11 to 19 year olds (PDF,8148Mb, 84 pages).

Please don't be tempted to use a loan shark (PDF,152.58KB, 1 page).

For confidential help and advice telephone 0300 555 2222 or email reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk.

Text “loan shark” and your message to 60003.

We can provide advice as soon as you call and remember, you will not get into trouble with the authorities, it is the loan shark that is breaking the law!