The Swansea Labour-led Swansea Council is urging residents in the city not to turn to loan sharks if they are struggling to make ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic.
Many people will have been hit financially by the crisis either through losing their jobs or having cash flow problems, subsequently causing worries about being able to pay important bills like rent, utilities and basic necessities.
And because of this some may be tempted to borrow money from an unlicensed lender as a quick fix.
Swansea Council is supporting a campaign by the Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit warning people that unlicensed lenders may look to take advantage of those who are most vulnerable at this time.
Labour Cllr Alyson Pugh, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Better Communities, said : “Unlicensed lenders, or loan sharks as they are sometimes called, are often based in the local community and, if you are in a financial crisis, they may seem friendly at the beginning. However, they can cause people huge misery in the long term.
“If you are having financial troubles, the worst thing you can do is borrow from a loan shark, no matter how bad your situation seems.”
The Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit operates a 24-hour confidential hotline that has remained open throughout the crisis and people can access advice and support for themselves or a relative or friend on 0300 123 33 11.
Help is out there for those worried about their financial situation from the following organisations:
- StepChange Debt Charity have information and advice for those worried about debt and the Coronavirus.
- The Money Advice Service has a guide to support that might be available to you and changes to the benefits system.
- Citizens Advice have information about accessing food banks and other emergency help in your local area.
- The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have advice on avoiding loan fee scams and a register of authorised lenders.
- The Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit can be contacted on 0300 123 33 11.
Further details of local and national organisations which can offer you further advice and support can be found at: https://www.swansea.gov.uk/furtherAdviceandSupport