People in Gedling borough who’ve been bitten by loan sharks over the festive period are being urged to report their experience to a national team set up to offer support.
The Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) are a national team that investigates and prosecutes loan sharks – works with local councils, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and police to crackdown on illegal money lending.
January is the time of year where loan sharks start to bite and chase victims for the first repayment on a Christmas loan.
Due to people being short of money, some borrowers might fail to meet the first settlement and receive threats from the lender. This is when a loan shark’s true colours and motives begin to show.
The team – who run a 24-hour hotline all year round – are made up of investigators and support officers who meet with victims on a daily basis and build up prosecution files to stop loan sharks in their deceiving tracks.
The team, who also work with Nottinghamshire County Council’s Trading Standards team, will take information anonymously and in confidence and victims do not have to give their name and an officer will go through your options first before taking the report.
Tony Quigley, head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “January is a difficult month for some people. It can be even more of a glum time for loan shark victims as lenders start chasing them for the first repayment on their Christmas loan. We want to reassure victims that they have not broken the law and help and support is available.
Councillor Gordon Wheeler, Vice-Chairman of Communities and Place Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council, added: “Many people experience the ‘money hangover’ this time of year if they’ve overspent over Christmas, but for loan shark victims it can be a very scary time as the threats and intimidation start if they had a Christmas loan.
“We urge them not to suffer in silence and report their experience to the national team.”
A loan shark is someone who lends money without the correct authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It is a criminal offence to lend money without authorisation and can lead to a 2-year prison sentence and/or £5,000 fine.
To check if a money lender is licensed, borrowers can also search the Financial Services Register: https://register.fca.org.uk/