South Yorkshire loan sharks are being targeted as part of a nationwide Christmas campaign aimed at clamping down on illegal money lenders.
The Illegal Money Lending Team, a national team that investigates and prosecutes loan sharks, is urging families to not borrow from loan sharks in the run up to Christmas, warning that they could end up with massive repayments in the New Year.
The IMLT, which works closely with the Financial Conduct Authority, Trading Standards officers and police forces, is running a social media campaign to give people advice on how to avoid becoming a loan shark's victim and how to report illegal money lending where they live.
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “Christmas can be a difficult time for some families - the cost and added pressures may tempt some people into borrowing from a loan shark.
"This timely campaign will hopefully make people think twice before using an illegal money lender.
"We are encouraging those in the grip of a loan shark to come forward and speak to us. O ur confidential Stop Loan Sharks hotline will be active over Christmas and New Year.
“Loan sharks are criminals who prey on vulnerable communities and fleece their victims out of hard earned cash, often through intimidation and violence.
"If you or someone you know has been the victim of a loan shark, we urge you to seek help by contacting us."
Call 0300 555 2222 or visit www.stoploansharks.uk