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Warning of loan shark dangers in Gateshead

Loan sharks ILMT

Gateshead Council is supporting a national campaign to prevent people falling victim to loan sharks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Continued economic uncertainty during the pandemic, with many people facing redundancy, means loan sharks may look to take advantage of people in a vulnerable position who feel they have nowhere to turn for help.

The Stop Loan Sharks campaign aims to reach out to those who are most at risk and show them that there is support available.

Councillor Malcolm Brain, Gateshead Council's Cabinet Member for Economy said: "Loan sharks are like parasites preying upon the most vulnerable members of society, targeting them and seeking them out, offering to help them out with what they immediately need but at a terrible long-term cost. We are very much aware of the devastating impact loan sharks have on the lives of their victims and we're determined to do all we can in Gateshead to eradicate them.

"We're working closely with the IMLT and our local credit union NEFirst to ensure residents are aware that there's a legal, ethical and affordable alternative to illegal lending. We urge anyone who isn't able access mainstream credit from the high street for whatever reason, to think twice about their next move and consider using a credit union before a loan shark"

Becky's Story

A North-East mum who ended up paying an estimated £35,000 after borrowing £50 to buy school uniforms has spoken out to warn others about the dangers of using loan sharks.

Mum-of-five Becky, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, wanted to share her story to encourage other victims to come forward.

She found herself in financial hardship and borrowed £50 from someone she considered a friend to buy school uniforms for her children but ended up paying an estimated £35,000.

It led to her attempting to take her own life after falling in debt and receiving terrifying threats from an ominous "Big Man."

Becky and her husband were both unemployed at the time, and with no access to a bank account, credit cards or able to get a loan, she felt she had no option but to accept the cash from the woman posing as her friend.

She said: "I had the £50 in 15 minutes. It seemed like easy money, but I didn't realise the dangers.

"The first time I was in arrears she added another £150 on top. So, you could borrow £50 one week, and owe £100 the next. But if you couldn't pay it would be £250 in a fortnight, £400 in three weeks.

"The most I ever owed was £1,500. She was taking hundreds a week off me, and I had to use food banks."

The loan shark would text Becky's kids if she was late with payments and warned they would be coming to visit unless she paid up.

Her case was investigated by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), with Becky and her children moved away from the loan shark and the lender now under investigation.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) is a specialist Trading Standards team which investigates and prosecutes loan sharks.

Since its launch in 2004, the IMLT has prosecuted more than 400 people for illegal money lending and crimes such as blackmail, kidnapping, rape and assault.

It has also written off £83 million in illegal debt and helped more than 30,000 victims.

Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: "These are difficult times for many households and there's a lot of pressure to make ends meet.

"People who may have lost their jobs, have outstanding debts, or are struggling to get credit through the usual means can feel like they've run out of options and turn to loan sharks.

"I would urge anyone who desperately needs financial help to not turn to a loan shark but instead to talk to Citizens Advice Gateshead or NEFirst Credit Union about financial support and options available.

"If you have been a victim of illegal money lending or know someone who has, please call our 24-hour helpline on 0300 555 2222 for advice and support."

Alternatively, you can access support via live chat between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday or complete an online form at www.stoploansharks.co.uk. Download the Stop Loan Sharks App for free from the App Store or Google Play.

 

 

 

Loan sharks ILMT
16 November 2020

Gateshead Council is supporting a national campaign to prevent people falling victim to loan sharks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Continued economic uncertainty during the pandemic, with many people facing redundancy, means loan sharks may look to take advantage of people in a vulnerable position who feel they have nowhere to turn for help.

The Stop Loan Sharks campaign aims to reach out to those who are most at risk and show them that there is support available.

Councillor Malcolm Brain, Gateshead Council's Cabinet Member for Economy said: "Loan sharks are like parasites preying upon the most vulnerable members of society, targeting them and seeking them out, offering to help them out with what they immediately need but at a terrible long-term cost. We are very much aware of the devastating impact loan sharks have on the lives of their victims and we're determined to do all we can in Gateshead to eradicate them.

"We're working closely with the IMLT and our local credit union NEFirst to ensure residents are aware that there's a legal, ethical and affordable alternative to illegal lending. We urge anyone who isn't able access mainstream credit from the high street for whatever reason, to think twice about their next move and consider using a credit union before a loan shark"

Becky's Story

A North-East mum who ended up paying an estimated £35,000 after borrowing £50 to buy school uniforms has spoken out to warn others about the dangers of using loan sharks.

Mum-of-five Becky, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, wanted to share her story to encourage other victims to come forward.

She found herself in financial hardship and borrowed £50 from someone she considered a friend to buy school uniforms for her children but ended up paying an estimated £35,000.

It led to her attempting to take her own life after falling in debt and receiving terrifying threats from an ominous "Big Man."

Becky and her husband were both unemployed at the time, and with no access to a bank account, credit cards or able to get a loan, she felt she had no option but to accept the cash from the woman posing as her friend.

She said: "I had the £50 in 15 minutes. It seemed like easy money, but I didn't realise the dangers.

"The first time I was in arrears she added another £150 on top. So, you could borrow £50 one week, and owe £100 the next. But if you couldn't pay it would be £250 in a fortnight, £400 in three weeks.

"The most I ever owed was £1,500. She was taking hundreds a week off me, and I had to use food banks."

The loan shark would text Becky's kids if she was late with payments and warned they would be coming to visit unless she paid up.

Her case was investigated by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), with Becky and her children moved away from the loan shark and the lender now under investigation.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) is a specialist Trading Standards team which investigates and prosecutes loan sharks.

Since its launch in 2004, the IMLT has prosecuted more than 400 people for illegal money lending and crimes such as blackmail, kidnapping, rape and assault.

It has also written off £83 million in illegal debt and helped more than 30,000 victims.

Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: "These are difficult times for many households and there's a lot of pressure to make ends meet.

"People who may have lost their jobs, have outstanding debts, or are struggling to get credit through the usual means can feel like they've run out of options and turn to loan sharks.

"I would urge anyone who desperately needs financial help to not turn to a loan shark but instead to talk to Citizens Advice Gateshead or NEFirst Credit Union about financial support and options available.

"If you have been a victim of illegal money lending or know someone who has, please call our 24-hour helpline on 0300 555 2222 for advice and support."

Alternatively, you can access support via live chat between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday or complete an online form at www.stoploansharks.co.uk. Download the Stop Loan Sharks App for free from the App Store or Google Play.

 

 

 

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