The Stop Loan Sharks Project, in partnership with Lincolnshire Trading Standards, aims to raise awareness of loan sharks to put an end to this callous crime and encourage the public to celebrate the season without turning to an illegal money lender.
The message is clear, what may seem like a small loan to tide people over for Christmas, could end up costing them well into the New Year and beyond.
The effect is not just financial, the impact on the lives of victims and their families can be horrific.
Tony Quigley, head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “No matter how much you are struggling financially, loan sharks are not the answer.”
“They are motivated only by their own greed and are not offering you a service.”
“These criminals should always be avoided at all costs.”
“They could easily ruin your Christmas and you could be subjected to years of harassment, paying back your loan several times over. “
“We’d recommend credit unions as a safe and legal alternative. Visit www.abcul.org to find your nearest one.”
“If you have been the victim of a loan shark, help is at hand, call 0300 555 2222 to speak to us in confidence.”
“Our lines are answered 24/7 by a trained investigator throughout the festive season.”
The Stop Loan Sharks Project is made up of Illegal Money Lending Team’s across the country, who investigate and prosecute illegal money lenders.
They fear that loan sharks will prey on those who are struggling financially in the run up to Christmas, in fact 20 per cent of victims stated that they had originally borrowed to pay for festivities.
No matter how desperate people become loan sharks are never the answer.
The Stop Loan Sharks Project has already secured 321 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to over 205 years worth of custodial sentences.
To keep updated with the campaign visit www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject.