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Chiltern District Council
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Don't swim with the loan sharks this Christmas

As the Christmas shopping season gets into full swing Chiltern District Council and South Bucks District Council are asking people to think very carefully before borrowing money and to avoid debt spiralling out of control.

It is all too easy to get persuaded to use high cost  'buy now, pay later'  catalogues, payday loans, doorstep lenders and even loan sharks. All these sources of credit will lead to high interest rates and in the case of loan sharks, intimidation and possibly harm. Check out the following advice:-

  • Most loan sharks start out friendly, but their behaviour changes when payments are missed
  • Few loan sharks advertise; they are often heard of by word of mouth
  • Most loan sharks offer little or no paperwork
  • Many loan sharks will refuse to tell you how much you owe, how long you will be paying off the debt or what the interest rate is
  • Many loan sharks will increase the debt and add additional amounts
  • Many loan sharks take items as security including passports, bank cards or benefit cards
  • Many loan sharks resort to intimidation, threats and violence.
  • If you do need a loan to help with the cost of Christmas, you could join your local credit union, M for Money. Credit unions offer safer, affordable loans - a much better alternative for people tempted to turn to high-risk borrowing like payday lenders. The community bank also helps support people with poor credit history, or those who find managing their finances difficult, to prevent them falling prey to loan sharks and high-interest loan companies. The scheme enables members to save small amounts at favourable rates of interest, and borrow when necessary.

You can join the credit union at M4Money or email admin@m4m.cu.org or phone 020 8756 3866.

If you believe you have borrowed from a loan shark, contact the England Illegal Money Lending Team in confidence. There are a number of ways you can contact the team, by phoning the 24/7 confidential hotline on 0300 555 2222, by email to reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk or you can find out more from the webpage which is www.direct.gov.uk/stoploansharks