England’s Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) has just recorded the 30,000th person it has helped escape the clutches of loan sharks, with the figure including people in Lancashire.
The team has increased its online presence - providing extra advice and support through a new live chat service on their website each Tuesday - amid concerns loan sharks now may be looking to take advantage of those who have found themselves in a vulnerable position during the pandemic and feel they have nowhere else to turn for help.
The England IMLT works closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), local Trading Standards and the police and £80m in illegal debt has been written off since the team was first set up in 2004.
Its helpline, 0300 555 2222, also offers support.
Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “We decided to launch live chat as the team have recently passed a major milestone of helping 30,000 victims and we want to make our services even more accessible to those who need them most.
“Live chat will be delivered one day a week during the trial period; however, we continue to provide round-the-clock information, advice and support for anyone affected by illegal money lending on our 24-hour helpline."