New measures to combat loan sharks
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New measures to tackle criminals illegally lending money were
announced today by Consumer Affairs Minister Gareth Thomas.
The national hotline - which is confidential - is now up and
running and gives consumers one single point of contact.
A new website has also been launched providing information on
managing finances and how to borrow money safely.
Stop Loan Sharks teams have successfully prosecuted more than 60 people
with a further 90 prosecutions underway. This amounts to nearly 40
years of custodial sentences for illegal lending and associated crimes.
teams have supported more than 7,000 victims of illegal money lenders.
The first two pilot schemes were launched in September 2004 and then
rolled out to every region of England, Wales and Scotland in 2007.
Their work has meant around £14million has been saved for
consumers who were locked in illegal deals with these money lenders.
Affairs Minister, Gareth Thomas, said: "Loan sharks fleece hard-earned
cash from their victims causing great distress and anguish.
this hotline gives victims the chance to talk in confidence. They get
advice and support and the information provided helps the team to take
action to stop illegal money lending.
"The teams are having huge
success in bringing these criminals to justice and are saving consumers
significant amounts of money."
The national hotline - which is confidential - is: 0300 555 2222.
And the website is: http://www.direct.gov.uk/stoploan
sharks Consumers can also text 'loan (space) shark (space)
and your message' to 60003.
1. The national helpline replaces the individual regional
Government has committed £11m since 2004 (first two pilot areas were
Glasgow and Birmingham) to tackling this problem and will continue to
fund a team in every region until March 2011.
3. An estimated
165,000 households in the UK use an illegal money lender each year
according to independent research commissioned by the then DTI (Nov
4. The Consumer Credit Act 1974 requires lenders to be
licensed by the OFT. Trading Standards departments have responsibility
for enforcement against unlicensed lenders.
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© Crown Copyright.
from the BERR-
Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform replacing DTI
- Department for Trade and Industry. Reproduced under the terms and
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-03-04 12:05:41 in Business Articles