Loan Shark Warning for Wales
The Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit is warning that loan sharks are likely to be taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic by offering loans to people who have been hit financially by the crisis.
Loan sharks will often appear to be friendly and helpful, lending money “to help out”. But make no mistake – what starts as an apparently friendly offer to help, is likely to turn to future misery.
Loan sharks are greedy and unscrupulous: once you’ve borrowed from them, they will demand more and more in repayments, often using threats of violence, or other forms of pressure to make sure you pay whatever they ask. And WIMLU point out that they investigate nearly as many female as male loan sharks.
The victims of this crime are frequently vulnerable people, often with recognised mental and physical disabilities.
Loan sharks understand that disabilities bring additional living expenses; they also know that households with a disabled member are likely to be in receipt of DLA or PIP – they will want a slice of that extra money.
These are times of unprecedented economic pressures throughout Wales. WIMLU urges everyone to borrow money only from lenders authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, such as the banks or Credit Unions.
If you care for someone, there will be signs to look out for that the person you care for may have been targeted by a loan shark.
Does the person seem more anxious than usual? Are there unusual money worries? Debts? Rent arrears? Is there a fear of a “friend”? Has their bank or post office card been taken? These could all be signs that a loan shark is preying on them.
The WIMLU is a specialist Trading Standards team which investigates and prosecutes loan sharks.
Phone the confidential WIMLU hotline 24/7 on 0300 123 33 11 to discuss your concerns. WIMLU offers you confidential advice and support, and will act sensitively and practically to end this criminal activity.
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