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Nurses warned to be on their guard against exploitative money lenders 

Loan sharks – who might even be a colleague – are targeting cash-strapped nurses

Loan sharks – who might even be a colleague – are targeting cash-strapped nurses

Nurses experiencing financial difficulty have been warned about the dangers of loan sharks when borrowing money.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) – a division of National Trading Standards – said loan sharks often use harassment, intimidation, threats and violence to pressure people into paying back loans, often at inflated rates, so what is paid back is far higher than the amount originally borrowed.

Vulnerable nurse was targeted by a colleague who turned out to be a loan shark

The

Loan sharks – who might even be a colleague – are targeting cash-strapped nurses

Loan sharks – who might even be a colleague – are targeting cash-strapped nurses
Picture: iStock

Nurses experiencing financial difficulty have been warned about the dangers of loan sharks when borrowing money.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) – a division of National Trading Standards – said loan sharks often use harassment, intimidation, threats and violence to pressure people into paying back loans, often at inflated rates, so what is paid back is far higher than the amount originally borrowed.

Vulnerable nurse was targeted by a colleague who turned out to be a loan shark

The IMLT told Nursing Standard it has worked with several nurses who have been targeted by loan sharks and is also working with several NHS trusts to tackle illegal money lending.

When staff nurse Ann (not her real name) was signed off work after leaving her abusive husband, she struggled to keep up with bills and rent.

She initially borrowed £1,500 from a fellow nurse who was known to offer loans under the provision she would pay back £370 per month when she returned to work.

But within a few days Ann was told she would have to start making repayments. When she struggled to make her payments the colleague threatened to tell her managers and other hospital staff that she couldn’t pay her debt.

By now Ann was working extra shifts and paying everything she earned to pay the debt. In total, she paid £4,070 over 11 months – £2,570 more than she had borrowed.

Training for healthcare staff aims to raise awareness of illegal lending

Stressed about how she would cope with her debt, Ann spoke to a friend at work who encouraged her to call the IMLT to get her finances back on track.

The IMLT encourages people to report loan sharks so they can be investigated and stopped.

The IMLT also offers training and accreditation for NHS trusts and staff to help crack down on loan sharks.

IMLT head Tony Quigley says it is important for healthcare staff to be aware of themselves, colleagues or patients being targeted.

'Loan sharks operate in all communities and settings,' he said.

'They prey on vulnerable people, charge extremely high interest rates and often resort to using harassment, intimidation, threats and violence to pressure people into paying back loans.'

Red flags: signs that a lender is a loan shark and should be reported

  • Gives you no paperwork or agreement on a loan
  • Refuses to give you information about the loan
  • Takes things from you if you don’t pay on time
  • Adds huge amounts of interest or charges so the debt never goes down
  • Uses intimidation or violence if you don’t pay on time

Further information


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