Last updated 24 November 2022
Loan sharks are illegal moneylenders who are not authorised with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to lend money.
Check if a lender is authorised by searching for companies and individuals on the FCA register.
Illegal Money Lenders operate in your neighbourhood as well as online and on social media. Anyone could be a loan shark and many will use local connections to target people and gain their trust. Loan sharks might be a friend’s mate or relative, or someone who is poses as a friend that just wants to ‘help out’.
If you’ve taken out an informal loan or are thinking about it, be sure to ask yourself some important questions first.
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 Annual Percentage Rate (APR) to your loan?
- Have they threatened you or your family?
- Are you scared of people finding out?
- Have they taken your bank card, benefit card, passport, watch or other valuables from you?
- Does the loan amount keep increasing even though you’re making regular payments?
- Did they not tell you when you will finish paying the loan off?
If you have borrowed money from a loan shark you haven’t broken the law; they have.
If you are worried about this talk to your debt adviser or contact the England Illegal Money Lending Team for a confidential conversation. They will discuss any worries you have, listen, give information and offer advice on your situation.
Stop Loan Sharks: the England illegal money lending team
Contact Stop Loan Sharks with a general query and the team will call you back at a convenient time.
You can also contact the team using the online webchat on the Stop Loan Sharks website.
To report a loan shark
If you need to borrow money, avoid loan sharks at all costs and consider other options. Credit unions offer ethical savings and loans to local communities.
Visit Stockport Credit Union to explore options for affordable loans.