If you are having money troubles this Christmas then don’t be tempted to borrow cash from loan sharks.
Loan sharks are illegal money lenders who often target low income families. They may seem friendly at first but borrowing money from them is never a good idea even if your credit rating is poor or you only need a small amount of money for a short while.
You pay far more in interest than you would through any legal borrowing. Some loan sharks resort to intimidation and violence after they have lent you the money, and you are often pressured into borrowing more money to repay one debt with another.
West Lancashire Borough Council offers a free, independent and confidential Rent and Money Advice Service to all its tenants. Advisers can help with debt problems, and offer advice on a range of subjects including managing bills, claiming benefits, and negotiating debt payment programmes. They can also advise on alternatives other than resorting to loan sharks.
If you are a Borough Council tenant you can drop into the Council’s Customer Service Point at the Concourse Shopping Centre in Skelmersdale on Wednesdays and Fridays between 10am and 1pm for rent and money advice.
Councillor Jennifer Patterson, portfolio holder for Housing, said: “The festive season can be a time when we want to treat our family with nice presents or really want to go all out to make Christmas Day really special.
“If you are short of money and struggling for credit then going to a loan shark can be a tempting option. But in the long run this can create massive problems for you and your family, so please call our Rent and Money Advice Service so you don’t fall into the loan shark trap.”
Some loan sharks will threaten you by saying you will be prosecuted and even sent to prison if you don’t pay them. But this is not true as an unlicensed lender such as a loan shark has no legal right to recover the debt.
Any lender – licensed or unlicensed – who harasses you is breaking the law.
To report a loan shark problem and get help you can: