THE police illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) is urging families in South Worcestershire to not borrow from loan sharks amid fears a small loan could lead to massive repayments in the New Year.
The IMLT is a national team that investigates and prosecutes loan sharks.
Now it has launched a social media campaign with advice on how to avoid falling victim to loan sharks and how to report illegal money lending in Worcester and Malvern.
The campaign is being held this week will consist of tweets, advice articles and media links being shared from the Stop Loan Sharks Facebook page and Twitter account.
IMLT chief Tony Quigley said: “Christmas can be a difficult time for some families; the cost and added pressures may tempt some people into borrowing from a loan shark.
“This campaign will hopefully make people think twice before using an illegal money lender.
“We are encouraging those in the grip of a loan shark to come forward and speak to us; our confidential Stop Loan Sharks hotline will be active over Christmas and New Year.
“Loan sharks are criminals who prey on vulnerable communities and fleece their victims out of hard earned cash, often through intimidation and violence. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a loan shark, we urge you to seek help by contacting us on 0300 555 2222 or visit www.stoploansharks.uk.
How to spot a loan shark this Christmas
A loan shark might:
* Offer little or no paperwork on a loan, such as a credit agreement or record of payments
* Refuse to give borrowers information, such as the interest rate or how much you owe
* Take items as security, such as passports, bank cards and driving licenses
* Increase the debt or add additional charges at any time
* Refuse to allow you to settle your debt
* Get nasty – they might use intimidation, threats or violence to enforce repayment