Be aware of loan sharks!
Loan sharks are illegal lenders who tend to target low income families who are in need of money. Loan sharks are very dangerous people to become involved with and should be avoided at all costs. Loan sharks may be friendly to start with, but even if you keep up with your repayments, any money that you do borrow will come at a high price.
How to spot a loan shark
A loan shark may:
What can I do about a loan shark debt?
- Offer little or no paperwork, such as a licence, credit agreement or record of payments
- Refuse to give information, such as the interest rate or how much you still owe
- Become intimidating, aggressive and even threatening to scare you into making payments
- Increase your debt without your permission
- Not allow you to settle your debt or charge you penalities for settling your debt
- Take items as security, such as passports, bank cards or driving licences
If you've borrowed money from a loan shark, the most important things to remember are:
- You've not done anything illegal and you won't get in trouble with the police. It's illegal to lend money without a licence, but it' not illegal to borrow money from a loan shark
- You don't have to pay the money back. If the money was lent illegally, the loan shark has no legal right to collect it and they can't take you to court to get it back
- Don't stop paying a loan shark if you're worried about your safety. Get advice from a specialist before you make a decision
How to check if a lender is legitimate
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) keeps details of all licensed lenders, as well as everyone who has applied for a licence or has had one taken away or suspended. If a lender isn’t listed as having a current licence, don’t borrow money from them and don’t let them come into your home.
It's a criminal offence to lend money for profit without a consumer credit licence.
Check the Consumer Credit Register
to see if a lender is licensed.
How to report a loan shark
If you have been approached by someone you think is a loan shark, you need to report them via gov.uk
. If you are in immediate danger contact the police.