Lets Talk Loan Sharks 2022

Next week sees the start of Lets Talk Loan Sharks 2022. We’re proud to be supporting the Illegal Money Lending Team with Stop Loan Shark Week (26th Sept – 2nd Oct), encouraging open conversations about loan sharks and highlighting the support available to those who have fallen victim to loan sharks and illegal money lenders. Lets help remove the shame and stigma around illegal money lending and talk to our families, friends, neighbours, colleagues and communities about the dangers of loan sharks.

What is a loan shark?

  • A loan shark is an illegal money lender meaning they are not authorised to lend money by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
  • Loan sharks often work from home, charge extortionate rates of interest and do not give much / any paperwork to confirm the arrangement made with you.
  • Loan sharks then often turn to threats and violence when the victim can no longer keep up with the very high repayments. Loan sharks may take away credit cards or valuables, and in extreme cases have been known to force non-payers into illegal activities. These ruthless lenders use coercive control and psychological threats to keep victims trapped in, what seems like, an endless cycle of debt with devastating consequences.

How to protect yourself from loan sharks

  • Know who you’re dealing with – The FCA register shows you all authorized lenders, so if a lender is not listed, do not lend from them.
  • Do not give your Passport, ID documentation or bank cards as security for a loan. Authorised lenders will not require this kind of security.
  • Do not borrow from friends or family, even if you think you can trust them. We often turn to close friends and family in our time of need, but read here how Michelle borrowed £50 from a fellow Mum at the school gate and how this small loan affected her. Even people who we think we can trust can reveal themselves as dishonest!

Where you can turn

  • The Illegal Money Lending Team investigates and prosecutes illegal money lenders, while support the victims of loan sharks. If you have borrowed from a loan shark or are worried about someone else, the IMLT is here to help and keep you safe. The team have specially trained staff to help you emotionally and offer practical support specifically tailored to you.
  • If you’re looking to borrow, a loan from Retail CU may be able to help. Retail CU, a part of Voyager Alliance, offers affordable loans, whatever the purpose. You can often repay through your payroll, direct debit or benefits and the interest rates are fair.

The Illegal Money Lending Team estimates that 310,000 people are in debt to a loan shark – you are not alone! Struggling to deal with loan sharks can feel isolating, but encouraging the victim to open up about their experience can help them make the first step in seeking help.

Report a loan shark here, or call the Illegal Money Lending Team 24/7 on 0300 555 2222

The Centre for Social Justice – Swimming With Sharks report for more information about loan sharks in our communities.