How to spot a loan shark



It’s estimated that 21 million people in the UK are no longer able to make ends meet, according to a Department of Works and Pensions report.

And, with more payday lenders going out of business and the Provident (which helps families and communities by offering cash loans between £100 – £1,000 over a range of terms, subject to affordability) no longer lending money, this could push more people towards borrowing from illegal lenders.

What is a loan shark?

A loan shark is someone who lends money without the correct permission required by the Financial Services and Markets Act.  It’s thought that approximately 310,000 UK households are using illegal money lending and that people repay £700 million per year to loan sharks.

The most common reason for borrowing from loan sharks is to cover everyday living costs.  However, we know that the last 18 months will have put an even bigger strain on your finances.

Are you borrowing from a loan shark?

If you can answer yes to one or more of these questions you might be borrowing from a loan shark:

  • Did they offer you a cash loan?
  • Did they not give you paperwork?
  • Did they add huge amounts of interest or APR to your loan?
  • Have they threatened you?
  • Are you scared of people finding out?
  • Have they taken your bank card, benefit card, passport, watch or other valuables from you?

You can check if the person you have borrowed money from has the correct permission via the Financial Services Register.

Reporting a loan shark

Taking a loan out with a loan shark is not an offence. If you report a loan shark, you will not be expected to appear in court.

The good news is, if you take out a loan with a loan shark, legally, you do not have to pay it back.  So, reporting a loan shark is in your interest.

We understand that making a report can be daunting but Stop Loan Sharks is available to help. You can call their 24-Hour Hotline number on 0300 555 2222. Your report can be anonymous, and calls are not recorded.

You can also chat online at (Live Chat Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm).