PAYDAY loan companies are attempting to pass themselves off as credit unions, it has been claimed.

Paul Urch, treasurer of Somerset Savings and Loans credit union, says some discredited companies are now employing even sharper tactics in a bid to latch on to unsuspecting customers.

He said: “I was disturbed to discover that through a simple internet search for ‘credit unions’ you are now greeted by paid adverts offering ‘Credit Union’ loans.

“I have checked out many of these and find that none I could find is owned or operated by credit unions.”

Credit unions are not-for-profit lenders judging applications on affordability.

Mr Urch said he had tried one of the advertisement links to check whether the site was a bona fide credit union.

He said: “I have received 22 emails from a variety of credit companies offering me the £2,000 I applied for and ten text messages asking me to contact one loan company or the other.

“The only encouraging aspect was that I actually received one email rejecting my application!”

Savings with Somerset Savings and Loans are covered by the Financial Services compensation scheme up to £85,000.