Stop the loan sharks!
Stop the loan sharks!By the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT)Loan sharks operate outside the law so they have no legal right to recover the debt. In fact, they have no legal right to make you pay back the loan back at all – because the loan is illegal.The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) are a national team who investigate and prosecute loan sharks. The team run a 24-hour hotline on 0300 555 2222; your call will be handled by a trained officer and all information will be treated in the strictest confidence.Anyone who lends money needs to hold a licence. If you ever wonder if a person is licensed you can look at the register that is maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority. You can search by a company or person’s name – this register is a public record that shows details of all individuals and firms that are regulated. The website is https://register.fca.org.uk/When calling the IMLT, an officer will speak to you and explain the process. The more details you can provide the better, but even if you only know a small amount of information then still call. Your piece may be the vital bit of the puzzle to assist an investigation. We recognise that you may be anxious about speaking to the team so you will be assigned a dedicated support officer (from the IMLT’s LIAISE department) who will answer any questions or concerns you may have; they will also guide you through the process from beginning to end.If you have confided in your manager, or anyone else, and you do not feel able to talk to the IMLT at this stage, you could always get them to ring the team on your behalf. The IMLT will take information anonymously or in confidence. Alternatively you can contact the team by text, email or the website. They will take it from there.What is a loan shark?A loan shark is someone who lends money without the correct authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It is a criminal offence to lend money without authorisation; one which is taken very seriously by the courts.Loan sharks come in all different guises. These criminals usually appear friendly at first and will act as though they are providing a community service; lending money to individuals in the area who may be struggling financially. Although they may seem pleasant, a loan shark’s behaviour soon changes once monies are owed.How do they operate?Loan sharks have been known to operate independently or with others as part of a larger enterprise. They usually receive their custom through word of mouth, but have also been known to advertise their cash loan services on social media. Loan sharks will start off by being your friend to gain your trust, but it’s not long until they are banging at your door and sending you threatening text messages, demanding repayments.How to contact the IMLTThe England Illegal Money Lending Team run a confidential hotline (0300 555 2222) which is manned 24/7 by a trained officer. The team can accept information anonymously and in confidence and will talk you through your options. Alternatively, visit the website www.stoploansharks.co.uk/report-a-loan-shark/