Yorkshire Housing were pleased that throughout Loan Shark Awareness Week we highlighted the dangers of loan sharks and how to report them in all of our offices. We also helped staff to become aware of the warning signs to look out for with customers.
Events took place at our offices at York, Malton, Bradford, Sheffield, Skipton and at Dysons in Leeds. These included a loan shark awareness quizzes, thought capturing after discussions on loan sharks and cakes. We also had a drop-in event in Malton for customers, featuring none other than Sid the Shark! At the event customers could talk about financial concerns to the Community First Credit Union, Illegal Money Lending Team and local council.
We also had talks from the Illegal money lending team on how loan sharks prey on their victims and the hard work involved to prosecute those who seek out vulnerable people.
Victoria Cordingley, Yorkshire Housing benefit and money advice team leader, said: “I am glad that all Yorkshire Housing staff in all our offices had the chance to find out more about loan sharks and how they can be a real threat to our customers.
“Loan sharks prey on the most vulnerable and will intimidate, manipulate and trap people into a debt spiral. Now we can let our customers know the risks regarding loan sharks, what alternatives there are for managing their finances, and how they can avoid being exploited.”
Again, some of the signs of a loan shark include:
- Offering little or no paperwork, such as a credit agreement or record of payments
- Refuse to give information, such as the interest rate or how much you owe
- Take items as security, such as passports, bank cards or driving licences
- Increase the debt or add additional charges at any time
- Refuse to allow you to settle your debt
- Get nasty – they might resort to intimidation, threats or violence.
If our customers are concerned they can contact the benefit and money advice team by calling 0345 366 4404 or via the website.
If customers are being targeted by a loan shark, they can report them in complete confidence to the Illegal Money Lending Team. They have a 100 percent safe online reporting form that you can use to report illegal money lenders to Stop Loan Sharks.
The team are also available 24/7 on 0300 555 2222 for anonymous information taken in the strictest of confidence. For further information on the Illegal Money Lending Team visit www.stoploansharks.co.uk