Avoid Shark Loans Like the Plague!

The following is an interesting article on Shark Loans published in the Mirror Newspaper that is worth reading if you are tempted in taking out a loan with a loan shark:

After £20 loan became £7,000, illegal shark loans drove me to point of suicide

A father of six has spoken out amid warnings that hard up families are handing over £700m a year to unregulated money lenders.

A desperate dad now driven to brink of suicide by loan sharks, shows the depths of his nightmare. After taking out a “one off” £20 loan from them, he was sucked into borrowing as much as £7,000 as his debts spiralled out of control.

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The loan sharks threatened to break his windows and banged on his door in the middle of the night time. The jobless ex-RAF serviceman, 42, says the callous criminals consistently turned up with other thugs in their own car at his house.

The threats mounted and, unable to see a way out from taking his own life, he sat down and lined up a row of pills. He explained: “One morning I woke up and really thought I can’t do this any more. The continuous hounding only breaks you down.”

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But at the last minute he stepped back from the brink and plucked up the nerve to call the Illegal Money Lending Team – a government-funded squad fighting loan sharks.

He says falling to the shark loans trick was not difficult. “We’d gone from a great to a low income and had no savings, so a friend gave me a man’s card and suggested I call him for a little loan.”

After borrowing £20 he was paying £150 back a week later, then started to borrow £100 a time and with 50 per cent interest. The loans increased from £200 every number of weeks for around two-and-a-half years.

He says: “It’s a vicious circle, in the case you borrow £100 and from the time your interest charge comes round, you are having to pay £150 then you have no cash left, which means you borrow again.

“It got to the stage where I must have borrowed up to £7,000 and they’d have had a lot more than that back, at least half again.”

“Threats of violence began. Collectors came round with big guys who you wouldn’t desire to mess with in the rear of the car, to intimidate me into paying,” he says.

“One of the things that was said to me was, ‘I haven’t used these hands for a long time but I ‘ll use them on you’. They threatened to send people to smash windows.

“Even within two or three months of the first loan there were risks if you could not pay.” He borrowed from family members up to £2,000 to keep them at bay.

He says: “My state of mind was horrific. My wife was getting worse and you might have the pressure of not working and not having any food. I could not take it any more.”

But as he prepared to kill himself, he could barely quit thinking of his family. “It wouldn’t have been fair to leave them,” he says.

His call to the Illegal Cash Lending Team led to the sharks detained and being investigated. He says: “If I hadn’t contacted them I wouldn’t be here.”

The sufferer, who earned £32,000 in a year before losing his job, described one of the sharks as really friendly initially, but ended up nicknaming him Dr Jekyll because he could turn awful so fast.

He explained: “At first he acted like he desired to help. He made friends. “But these people are leeches, the are just out to cause misery and destroy folks for their very own gain.”

He urged anyone who felt they were going through exactly the same ordeal to make contact with the Illegal Money Lending Team.

Since it was established seven years back, more than 300 loan sharks have been prosecuted by it. Specialists believe there are 310,000 casualties of this illegal activity across the country.

Tony Quigley, head of the Birmingham-based squad said “It actually is hideous what loan sharks can perform to a community”.

“We believe we’ve discontinued 25 suicides, but individuals are generally scared to come forward due to the intimidation.”