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Beware of loan sharks in-person and online

Beware of loan sharks in-person and online

We support the national social media campaign #SharkFreeSurfing. It’s led by the England Illegal Money Lending Team to encourage loan shark victims and the wider community to report illegal money lending activity. The risks are real and the dangers are growing, especially online. So it’s really important we know the signs and what to do to protect ourselves and our loved ones. 

Loan sharking is usually illegal and loan sharks are increasingly using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, for predatory lending. They target potential victims and trap them with what turn out to be extremely high interest loans, with threatening behaviour to those who can’t afford to pay the extortionate loans back. 

If you suspect that someone is lending money illegally, please report it in confidence to 0300 555 2222 or go to the England Illegal Money Lending Team’s website at www.stoploansharks.co.uk. 

We understand that approximately one in five victims have met their lender on social media in the first half of this year. By sharing advice on how to spot the signs of loan sharks, how to report them, and promoting safe services if you have money worries - such as our Money Advice Team and Hoot Credit Union - we’ll all be able to protect more people that otherwise could’ve been at risk.

How to spot the signs of loan sharks:

· Won't provide you with receipts or proof of payments

· Increase the debt or add additional amounts to it without your permission

· Refuse to give information, such as the interest rate or how much you still owe

· Not allow you to settle your debt

· They may resort to intimidation, threats or violence

· May suggest other forms of payment

Protect yourself and others from loan sharks:

· Know who you're dealing with. If you've only ever met someone online or are unsure of the legitimacy of a lender, take some time to do a bit more research. Check the lender is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (www.fca.org.uk).

· Beware of loan adverts with no credit checks.

· Beware of any requests for your details or money. Loan sharks may ask for copies of your passport or pictures of your house, the street and your house number.

We offer money advice you can trust:

If you would you like some support to get your finances under control, please consider asking our Money Advice Team for help and a long lasting solution. We could save you money and even increase your income where you’re entitled, and it won’t cost you anything to find out.

We could help you to:

· claim benefits you may be entitled to, particularly if your circumstances have changed;

· find ways to reduce your weekly and monthly outgoings;

· gain control of debts

Please contact us on 01204 328000 or find out more at www.boltonathome.org.uk/money-advice-team.

We recommend Hoot Credit Union for accessible savings and affordable loans

 We know how easy it is to fall prey to illegal money lenders online. That’s why we recommend only borrowing from reputable lenders, like Hoot Credit Union.

If you haven’t considered Bolton’s Credit Union before:

· Hoot's products and services are designed to help members manage their money well, and its profits are shared among members or used to benefit the whole community.

· It offers an ethical and safe approach to banking with affordable loans and accessible savings. Rates are competitive with the big banks.

· It keeps the Bolton pound working for the local economy and plays a crucial role in the recovery from the pandemic.

Hoot’s an independent financial services organisation, which we work closely with. Supporting the credit union’s services are a key part of our strategy to tackle and prevent poverty. 

You can find out more about Hoot here: www.wisewithmoney.org.uk.

Please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01204 328000 if you’d like more information or support if you’re worried about loan sharks, debts or other money matters.

Take care.

 

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