Loan Sharks

Loan sharks are illegal lenders who often target low income and desperate families. They may seem friendly at first but borrowing from them is never a good idea – even if your credit rating is poor or you only need a small amount for a short while.

Loan sharks will start out being friendly. And if you keep up your repayments, they will stay that way. But the reality is, even if you do, any money you borrow will come at a high price.

There are many risks attached to borrowing from a loan shark.

  • You pay far more in interest than you would through any legal borrowing. One woman who borrowed £500 ended up repaying £88,000.
  • You may be harassed if you get behind with your repayments.
  • You are often pressured into borrowing more money to repay one debt with another.

Spotting a Loan Shark:

A loan shark may:

  • offer little or no paperwork, such as a licence, credit agreement or record of payments
  • increase the debt or add additional amounts to it without your permission
  • refuse to give information, such as the interest rate or how much you still owe
  • take items as security, such as passports, bank cards or driving licences
  • not allow you to settle your debt, or
  • get nasty – they may resort to intimidation, threats or violence

Report a Loan Shark:

If you spot a loan shark, or have borrowed money from one, you can report them anonymously.


Illegal Money Lending Team - England
0300 555 2222
Available 24 hours
Text LOAN SHARK and the lender’s details to 60003


You can check if a lender is licensed by contacting:

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
0800 111 6768
Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm
Visit the FCA website