Predatory Lenders: Beware and Resist

Urgent Advisory

Beware the Dangers of Loan Sharks

The underbelly of the financial world is home to loan sharks, individuals who illegally lend money without the necessary authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). These individuals are not limited to shadowy figures in back alleys. They could be another parent at the school gates, a familiar face in the neighbourhood, or even a friend of the family.

Loan sharks capitalise on the allure of quick cash, an offer that often proves irresistible. However, the initial relief can rapidly devolve into a nightmare. Borrowers may find themselves subjected to threats, violence, and intimidation.

Key warning signs of loan shark activities include the absence of paperwork during the loan agreement, the refusal to disclose detailed information about the loan, the use of intimidation and threats, and demanding collateral like bank cards or passports until the debt is cleared. In some instances, personal belongings might be seized if the borrower fails to make timely payments.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), a specialised unit, is at the forefront of the battle against loan sharks. Their efforts have allowed thousands of individuals to break free from these financial predators and eradicated nearly £90 million worth of illicit debt.

It's important to remember that the borrower is not the one committing a crime, even if they have fallen prey to a loan shark. The culpability lies solely with the loan shark.

Numerous individuals have found themselves ensnared by these unscrupulous lenders, and we have supported many of them. Hear their stories on our YouTube channel - StopLoanSharks.

If you or someone you know is affected by illegal money lending, reach out to Stop Loan Sharks, available 24/7, at 0300 555 2222 or visit If you suspect a loan shark is operating in your community, you can report it to us anonymously. Live chat is available on the website from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. You don't even need to disclose your name. Your safety and security are our priority.