A week-long campaign to bite back against illegal loan sharks has exposed a string of victims in Milton Keynes.
MK Council, in conjunction with police, Safer MK, and the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), worked with Wolverton and Greenleys Town Council to hold information stands and events.
A police spokesman said: "We have spoken to many people over the week some of who fell victim to telephone scams where people purporting to be someone from their bank asking for the private bank details including the security code on the rear of their card. This was one of many examples we encountered."
Another example of illegal money lending came from a man called Mike, who borrowed £250 from a 'friend' to buy a second hand car. Mike paid back £90,000 over 14 years, say police.
Meanwhile a woman called Debbie borrowed £700 and ended up paying back £88,000 over seven years.
IMLT head Tony Quigley said: “Loan sharks trap borrowers in a spiral of debt, often resorting to extreme methods of intimidation, threats and violence to enforce repayment.
“We are committed to cracking down on unscrupulous lenders in partnership with other agencies. We not only want to warn people of the dangers but we want to offer support to those who may be vulnerable to getting involved with loan sharks.
"The joint approach allows the organisations to share information to bring loan sharks to justice."
Council leader Pete Marland said: “Borrowing money from loan sharks can have serious ramifications. This partnership between the council and IMLT will help drive out those who target vulnerable people and subject them to cruel repayment methods."
The Illegal Money Lending Team works with Trading Standards services across England to prosecute loan sharks and to support the people and communities that are affected by them.
An estimated 310,000 households are borrowing from illegal money lenders and the highest APR seen by a loan shark was 4.5 million per cent.
Some of the indicators of loan sharking include cash loans without paperwork, use of benefit or bank cards as security and threatening behaviour or violence to get money.