Although many families are under great financial pressure following Christmas spending, they should not be tempted into borrowing from a loan shark, a local council has urged.
Cambridgeshire county council has warned residents that borrowing from unlicensed lenders can cause "yet more" stress.
This is because such creditors are not governed by the Consumer Credit Act, meaning consumers lack protection.
Mark Oliver, lead officer for Cambridgeshire county council Trading Standards, said he understood that many households were receiving heavy credit card bills.
"We all sometimes end up spending far more than we ever meant to but please think carefully about who you borrow money from and the interest rate they will charge you," he urged.
According to financial advice charity Credit Action, the average household debt in Britain, excluding mortgages, is £8,956.
However, the average amount owed by each adult is £29,500, including mortgages, a figure which rose by £190 in December.