‘Sid the Shark’ and ‘Glenda the Lender’ were photographed at various local landmarks and there were giveaways running throughout the week, where Thirteen’s Facebook and Twitter followers were asked to ‘spot the sharks’ to win prizes. In addition, the organisation shared a host of awareness messages to let people know how to spot a loan shark and how to report one safely and in confidence.
Fiona Heighton, financial support services manager at Thirteen said: “We know there are loan sharks operating in our communities and they cause real hardship for customers and their family and friends too. Bite Back Week is another way we wanted to get the message out there to customers that there is help out there for them, so that they avoid using loan sharks.”
If you suspect that you or your family or friends have become involved with a loan shark, there are a number of signs to look out for. 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.
Anyone affected by illegal money lending and needing support can talk to the national illegal money lending team in confidence by calling their 24/7 helpline on 0300 555 2222 or emailing email@example.com .