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Don’t let loan sharks bite this Christmas

Don’t let loan sharks bite this Christmas

Christmas is only a few weeks away, and for many of us the list of people we want to buy gifts for seems to be growing rather than getting shorter. As money gets tight, many people will be considering loans. Because of this, loan sharks are trying to persuade people to borrow money that they should not be lending.

Loan sharks are illegal money lenders who can seem like a good option when you need money quickly or have difficulties getting credit, but they can quickly become intimidating and threatening or your loan can spiral out of control.

Residents are being warned not to turn to predatory loan sharks to solve Christmas money worries. The Stop Loan Sharks project has launched a national campaign to raise awareness of the risks posed by illegal money lenders and provide guidance on where help can be found.

Stop Loan Sharks can help you to identify if you might be borrowing from a loan shark, how you can safely report them for investigation and even offer one to one support for people who might be struggling with housing or debt issues.

Here are their tips for protecting yourself against loan sharks this Christmas:

  • Save money regularly, so you are not in urgent need of a loan
  • Do not accept cash loans, even if the lender seems friendly or helpful
  • Search the FCA Financial Services register to check the lender is legal at www.register.fca.org.uk/

If you need to borrow money, credit unions are a safer alternative than borrowing from a loan shark. We work in partnership with Leeds City Credit Union, this allows all of our residents to access their financial services, including affordable loans and flexible baking solutions. No matter where you live, Leeds City Credit Union is simple and stress-free to access. For more information please visit www.leedscreditunion.co.uk/.

If you have been the victim of a loan shark, you can contact the Illegal Money Lending Team in confidence on 0300 555 2222 or www.stoploansharks.co.uk. Their lines are open around the clock through the festive season.

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