Unify Credit Union has been recognized by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), which investigates and prosecutes illegal money lenders while providing support to those who have borrowed money from a loan shark.
Its new accreditation program recognizes organizations working with IMLT to raise awareness of loan sharks and their impact on local communities, and create safer spaces for people to live and work.
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Loan sharks are increasingly using social media to promote their illicit loans and target potential victims.
A recent campaign by IMLT called #SharkFreeSurfing ran across the Stop Loan Sharks and Unify social media platforms with the aim of encouraging not only victims but also the wider community to report illegal online moneylending activities.
Unify CEO Angela Fishwick said: “Our staff are working really hard to support our members and encourage them to report loan sharks. With the cost of living crisis, we are very concerned that more people may be tempted to turn to illegal lenders to make ends meet if it only makes their financial situation worse. If you are struggling with your finances, there is help from the local council and advisory network.”
Tony Quigley, Head of England IMLT said: “We would like to congratulate Unify on their Partner Recognition Award and thank them for their outstanding efforts in the fight against loan sharks.
“We are very grateful for the support of our partners across the country and count on them to act as our eyes and ears in the communities. By working together, we can root out illegal money lending and protect local residents from this horrible crime.
“We continue to encourage people to come forward if they know about, or have been the victim of, loan sharks. You are not alone and we will support you.”
Anyone who believes they have been the victim of a loan shark can email Stop Loan Sharks’ confidential 24-hour helpline on 0300 555 2222 [email protected] or go to www.stoploansharks.co.uk for help and information.