December 13 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Loan sharks are waiting outside schools attended by the children of people that they have lent money to, Harrow Council has warned.
Illegal lenders are also sending threatening texts and voicemails, with many of the practices reportedly being used among the borough’s Tamil community, the authority said.
The tactics were reported to Harrow Citizens Advice Bureau (HCAB), which is to open face to face drop in sessions from next week to add to the existing telephone and email services, to help people in need of financial help.
Jill Harrison, chief executive of HCAB, said: “The reports of illegal money lending that are starting to come through to us are very concerning.
“Although they may be tempting to use, illegal lenders or pay day loan companies are not a solution to people’s problems because they are likely to cause even more problems further down the line.
“We find that in many cases after people speak to us, they in fact find that they do not need to borrow money and just needed advice on how to apply for benefits or manage their finances more effectively.”
Harrow Council is warning residents not to use illegal lenders or payday loan companies. Instead, it recommends those in need of funds to first seek advice from HCAB and then, if a loan is essential, to consider joining their local Credit Union – M for Money – a non for profit cooperative which caps interest rates and has a strict criteria for lending money.
The council also has set up an Emergency Relief Scheme for those on means tested benefits who are in dire need of food or other essentials.
Thaya Idaikkadar, council leader and portfolio member for finance, said: “It is absolutely abhorrent that loan sharks are preying on vulnerable people who are struggling to make ends meet.
“We strongly advise our residents to seek the free support of HCAB and not be tempted to use illegal lenders or unscrupulous payday loan companies for a short term fix. The consequences can be devastating.”