People in Gedling borough can now access a new website set up to help victims of loan sharks.
The website outlines how victims can report an illegal money lender and the support that is available to help repay debt, source legitimate loans from credit unions, and help with health and wellbeing.
Victims are not likely to have received any paperwork, may have had items such bank cards, passports and jewellery taken as security and could have been subject to threats and intimidation.
Nottinghamshire County Council has worked with the England Trading Standards Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), hosted by Birmingham City Council, to set up the site and help people who may be in turmoil at the hands of a loan shark.
It is estimated that nationally 310,000 UK households use illegal money lenders and the IMLT has helped over 26,000 people who have borrowed from loan sharks since it was set up in 2004.
Councillor Glynn Gilfoyle, Chair of the Council’s Community Safety Committee, said: “A big myth about loan sharks is that their victims are also committing a crime by taking out a loan with them and this simply is not true.
“This website makes it clear the illegal money lender is committing the crime, the victim can remain anonymous if they want to give information about a loan shark and the safety of the victim is at the heart of what the illegal money lending team does.
“Many victims suffer in silence due to fear of reprisals so it is important that their friends or relatives are also able to report a loan shark on their behalf.”
Tony Quigley, Head of Service for the England Illegal Money Lending Team, comments: “We wanted to offer loan shark victims with an alternative way to report a loan shark safely – our new website allows victims to leave their contact details and request a call back from an IMLT officer at a time and day that suits them.
“If you or someone you know has been a victim of a loan shark, please visit www.stoploansharks.co.uk/report-a-loan-shark or call our 24-hr hotline on 0300 555 2222. All calls are handled by an IMLT officer and information is treated in the strictest confidence.”
The website address is www.stoploansharks.co.uk
People who are victims or know of a victim can call the hotline 24 hours a day 7 days a week on 0300 555 2222 and remain anonymous if you wish as all calls are treated in confidence.