People who are suffering financial problems should seek advice before resorting to loan sharks, says consumer minister Ian McCartney.
Mr McCartney today opened a new office in London for the Money Advice Trust, which runs national Debtline, and says he is concerned that many people are not awe that there is free and impartial support available to them.
"My advice to people struggling with debt is to pick up the phone - there are people who can help you find a solution and avoid the sharks. Loan sharks are lowlifes whose primary purpose is to rip you off. Many of them will resort to intimidation and violence to take money off the most vulnerable in our communities who know of no other borrowing options.
"Often it feels like there is no alternative than to turn to loan sharks but many people don't realise that debt advice and information is available for free. National Debtline is there to help."
The National Debtline offers a range of advice about debt, including urging people to get in touch with their lenders straight away to explain the problem and to not give up on trying to reach an agreement with them about realistic repayment terms.
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