Lancashire loan shark victim backs phone app to tackle illegal money lenders

A former loan shark victim has urged people suffering at the hands of unscrupulous money lenders to make use of a new smartphone app to tackle them.

Monday, 28th September 2020, 3:45 pm

The man, who wished to remain anonymous, spoke as England’s Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) launched the app to make it quicker and easier for people to report loan sharks and access support services.

He said: “The app is a great idea, it’s easy to use and provides quick access to advice and support.

“Loan sharks may seem like easy cash but they are not worth the risk. They are bullies and will bleed you dry for every last penny.

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Some of the cash previously seized from a loan shark in Chorley

“The worst thing you can do is suffer in silence like I did – our family went through hell. Without the support of the IMLT I would not be here today.”

The free Stop Loan Sharks app includes a contact form and phone number to report loan sharks, information to help victims of illegal money lending to get support and advice of warning tell-tale signs to be aware of, including cash loans without paperwork, extortionate interest, use of benefits or bank cards as security and threatening behaviour.

It was funded from cash recovered from loan sharks under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).

Previous research by Lancashire Trading Standards showed loan sharks were thought to have targeted 3,300 Lancashire homes.

In August 2017 Chorley loan shark John McCullagh, 56, was jailed for 15 months after charging vulnerable borrowers £50 interest for every £100 borrowed.

He provided 4,000 personal loans to more than 600 people.

For help call the confidential hotline on 0300 555 2222.

The Stop Loan Sharks app is free to download

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