Can-oe believe it?

Hollyoaks plot mirrors indebted canoe-man

Whether you're reading about John Darwin faking his death, or even watching your favourite soap, the dangers of debt are everywhere you look.

The recent court case of John and Anne Darwin, which saw them both sentenced to over six years in jail, is a harsh reminder about the lengths some people are willing go to in order to break free of debt.

Being so severely over-indebted that you feel the only option is to fake your own death is of course a real extreme - yet it's one that's sent the soap script writers rushing to their PCs. The writers for Hollyoaks for example have carved out a chilling plot for Chester's best know pub landlord, Jack Osborne. Together with his son, Jack carries out a Darwin-esque stunt and fakes his own death in order to escape the misery of debt. Up against desperate times, viewers watch Jack steal the identity of a dead man and plot a convincing, money-making scheme.

Mark Ward, consumer debt expert at Callcredit comments,

"The sharp rise in the cost of living has meant that consumers all over the country are feeling the pinch. But turning to crime is certainly not the answer!
"In order to avoid such drastic measures, we recommend that consumers get a better understanding of their financial commitments by checking their credit report. Taking this simple step will provide you with a clear view of how much you owe and enable you to see where savings can be made."
Top tips on how to avoid being a Darwin:

• Don't be a financial ostrich by burying your head in the sand - take control of your finances and get a copy of your credit report (www.callcreditcheck.com). This will show you exactly how much you owe and to which lender

• If you are concerned about how much you owe and keeping your credit commitments, contact your lender to work out a repayment plan

• If you're struggling with repayments contact a professional body such as the Consumer Credit Counselling Service for advice

To avoid getting into debt:

• Work out a budget based on your income and fixed outgoings and stick to it
• Before taking on additional debt ask yourself if you can afford the repayments
• Take control of your finances by shopping around for the best credit deals and regularly checking your credit report


About Callcredit:
• Callcredit (www.callcredit.co.uk) is the UK's most innovative, state-of-the art credit reference agency, with an extensive range of information and value added services for businesses and individuals.
• Callcredit Check provides consumers with online access to the details of their credit file at www.callcreditcheck.com
• Callcredit has harnessed state-of-the-art information technology with an unrivalled knowledge of the industry's needs to develop a range of innovative information solutions. Solutions that are enabling major lenders and a host of other blue chip companies to address regulatory requirements, make better credit decisions, target new customers more effectively and manage existing customers more profitably.
• Callcredit is one of six core businesses that form the Callcredit Information Group. The other five are:
• Database management company EuroDirect
Market analysis firm GMAP Consulting
• Online payment service provider, Legatio
• Scorecard development and affordability assessment specialist DecisionMetrics
• Marketing services and database specialist, Broadsystem

• Following the publication of Sir James Crosby's report, Callcredit has joined forces with the other two UK credit reference agencies to offer expert advice for victims of ID fraud. This joined up approach will mean that victims can contact Callcredit who will then alert the other two agencies to the fraud on their behalf. Our ID fraud team will also work with victims to contact all lenders and ensure that fraudulent information is removed and the consumers' credit history is fully restored.