Loan shark suspects charged following warrants in Oldham

Three people have been charged with offences of illegal money lending, money laundering and fraud by false representation in Oldham.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) working in partnership with Oldham Council Trading Standards and Greater Manchester Police, executed warrants at two addresses in the Hollins and Holts areas of the town this morning (Wednesday, December 9).

Searches were carried out at the properties where officers seized electronic devices.

The suspects, two men aged 31 and 33 and a 32-year-old woman have been released on bail to appear at Tameside Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, January 14, 2021. 

The IMLT is warning residents about the dangers of online loan sharks in the run-up to Christmas. 

Loan sharks are increasingly using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to advertise their illegal loans and target potential victims.

Top tips on how you can stay safe on the internet and spot online loan sharks:

Know who you’re dealing with. If you’ve only ever met someone online or are unsure of the legitimacy of a lender, take some time to do a bit more research. Check the lender is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). If not, don’t borrow from them – report to the Stop Loan Sharks team.

Beware of loan adverts with no credit checks. Loan sharks have been known to advertise in community groups and on local selling pages. They may seem friendly and accommodating, but their behaviour can quickly change, and you might be harassed or threatened if you get behind with your repayments. Lenders must carry out credit checks to make sure borrowers can afford to pay back their loans. You should never hand over your bank details to strangers, even if they lure you with attractive offers. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Beware of any requests for your details or money. Loan sharks may ask for copies of your passport or pictures of your house, the street and your house number. Never send money or give card details, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.

If you or someone you know have fallen victim to a loan shark, you can contact the Stop Loan Sharks Helpline 24/7 on 0300 555 2222 for anonymous information and in the strictest of confidence.

You can also email the team at reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk or use Live Chat to talk to a support officer online, safely and in confidence at www.stoploansharks.co.uk. Live Chat is available Monday to Friday, between 9am and 5pm.

The Stop Loan Sharks app is free to download on both iOS and Android devices from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.