Some people in London are so short of money they are not only turning to illegal loan sharks, but they are taking the incredible step of advertising to find one.
A special ITV News investigation has found - especially in east London - that despite the warnings about intimidation and extortionate charges from illegal lenders, there's been a spike in the number of people believing a loan shark is the only way out of their financial troubles.
ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi reports:
If you have borrowed from an unlicensed lender or 'loan shark' you have not broken the law, they have. Here are some sources of advice:
- 24/7 confidential advice - 0300 555 2222
- Text ‘loan shark and your message’ to 60003
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Send a Facebook message to www.facebook.com/stoploansharks
Unlicensed lenders - often called 'loan sharks' - operate illegal money lending businesses without a licence from the Office of Fair Trading. Here are some clues for identifying them:
- Rarely offers paperwork to keep borrowers unsure of how much they owe
- Charge extortionate rates of interest (rates of 131,000% APR have been seen)
- Add additional amounts to the debt so borrowers struggle to repay
- Take items such as passports of bank cards as security
- Employ extreme methods to reclaim their debts, including violence and intimidation
Source: England Illegal Money Lending Team