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OFT loan shark warning could lead to boost in equity release popularity

24 May 2010

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is backing a campaign to highlight the dangers involved in dealing with loan sharks who regularly prey on "vulnerable people".

A safer way for homeowners to increase their income or obtain funds to meet financial demands could be through the use of an equity release scheme, which allows people to utilise some of the value of their property.

The OFT warned that loan sharks are illegal operations and urged anyone with information to contact the Illegal Money Lending hotline.

Jacqui Kennedy, director of regulatory services at Birmingham City Council, said: "It's vital that we get our message out to vulnerable people that loan sharks are never a good option.

"It may seem like easy cash at first but very quickly people can become trapped in a spiral of debt, with entire communities having their lives controlled by loan sharks and living in fear and despair."

Homeowners aged over 55 years who are curious about how the value of their home could boost their income can find out with equity release advice from Key .