In a campaign against poverty in Lincoln, residents are being urged not to turn to loan sharks when finances tighten.
As part of the second phase of the Lincoln Against Poverty campaign ‘Say no to high cost borrowing’, residents are being introduced to a number of advice and support networks.
Lincoln Against Poverty, which was forged by the City of Lincoln Council and partners, set up the campaign in the run-up to Christmas, when financial strain can cause concern for families.
The campaign started in October and will run through to January, with a different theme for each month.
Throughout November, posters are being put up advising people not to turn to loan sharks if they need to borrow money.
Anyone approached or already involved with loan sharks should contact the Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), a Trading Standards project set up to tackle the crime and help victims.
The IMLT hotline is 0300 555 2222. All calls are confidential, and can also be anonymous.
Loan Sharks operate illegally, without the correct permissions from the Financial Conduct Authority and rarely give paperwork, keeping borrowers in the dark as to how much they are paying back.
Anyone who is concerned about debt or getting into financial difficulty can contact Lincoln Citizens Advice Bureau on 03444 111 444 for advice and support.
Tony Quigley, head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “If you or anyone you know has been approached by a loan shark, we need to know.
“The IMLT has prosecuted 310 of these illegal lenders but we know there are more out there and we need your support. Please report them, so we can stop them.
“Loan sharks should never be a consideration if you need to borrow money.
“The team also offers victim support for anyone involved with a loan shark. We are here to help you – it’s the loan shark who is in trouble.”
Louise Jardine, Specialist Advice Services Manager at Lincoln Citizens Advice Bureau, said: “Access to traditional credit is changing and this a reflection of the changes in society. More people than ever are facing difficulties in managing their everyday household budgets.
“Many of our clients seek high interest borrowing because they are not able or do not have access to mainstream lending. They may also be paying more for essential products and services.
“Here at the Lincoln CAB, we not only look at the different strategies that are available when giving debt advice, but we also look at income maximisation and financial inclusion.
“We can assist with any debt present either directly or by referring to a suitable agency.
“It is never too late to seek advice and support regarding money problems, but there is still a lot of stigma surrounding debt.
“We often see clients at breaking point but our team of highly skilled caseworkers will deal with the problems being faced sensitively.
“We have a lot of information on our website Adviceguide or people can attend one of our drop-in sessions for initial guidance on their situation.”
Anyone who wished to download a poster and raise awareness can download a copy online.
Other helpful contacts include:
- Lincolnshire Credit Union – 01522 873550
- City of Lincoln Council – 01522 881188
- Christians Against Poverty – 0800 328 0006
- Citizens Advice Bureau – 03444 111 444
- Money Advice Service – 0300 500 5000.