Residents urged to be on guard against loan sharks

Northumberland County Council is urging residents to be on their guard when borrowing money or being offered credit.

Housing and Public Protection’s Trading Standards team have received reports of a business working in the county putting flyers through residents doors offering loans which could result in paying back three times the amount originally borrowed.

This type of approach is often that of a loan shark who offers easy credit and targets those most in need with a poor credit rating who may already be struggling to meet essential everyday living costs. 

Certain types of lender can trap borrowers into huge debt by charging high rates of interest and extra charges.  They have been known to resort to tactics of intimidation, threats and even violence to enforce repayment from borrowers.  

There are also scams where loans are offered, but they never materialise. The scammers will request early payments and/or administration payments stating these are required before the money will be released. 

If residents require loans they are advised to contact credit unions. 

Councillor John Riddle, Cabinet member for Planning, Housing and Resilience, said: “I would always advise residents to be very careful who they seek a loan from and encourage people to use credit unions, such as the Northumberland Community Bank.”

Philip Soderquest, Head of Housing and Public Protection, added: “Residents need to be aware that loan sharks are unscrupulous individuals, taking advantage of people in desperate situations and trapping them in a cycle of debt and misery. 

“We want people to know help is available from the England Illegal Money Lending Team who can investigate loan sharks and provide support to their victims.”

Anyone who has been the victim of a loan shark can contact the Illegal Money Lending Team in confidence on 0300 555 2222 or stoploansharks.co.uk  
 
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