Stop Loan Sharks

Help and Support

Warning of loan shark dangers

Fairshare Credit Union is lending its support to a national campaign aimed at tackling loan sharks and raising awareness of where people can seek help.

The campaign is being led by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) – a national team that investigates and prosecutes loan sharks. They also provide specialist support for people affected by this crime.

A loan shark is someone who lends money without authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They often tend to initially appear friendly and helpful but can then turn to violent and aggressive behaviour to force victims to repay the loans with huge interest and extortionate penalties.

It’s not always easy to spot a loan shark as they come in many different guises and will at first appear friendly, just part of the community. It’s when you can’t pay that they will turn on you. They could be a regular from the local pub, a parent in the school playground or a friend of a friend.

It may seem like a difficult step to take, but there is support available from the England Illegal Money Lending Team.

You will usually find these predators lurking in communities, but they also operate on social media, using dating sites and online groups to find, threaten and control people in debt.

Here are some of the warning signs to watch out for that a lender is acting illegally:

  • Giving you no paperwork or agreement on a loan
  • Refusing to give you information about the loan
  • Keeping items such as your passport and bank card until the debt is paid
  • Taking things from you if you don’t pay on time
  • Adding more interest or charges so the debt never goes down
  • Using intimidation or violence if you don’t pay
  • Starting off by being your friend but quickly turning nasty

If you have borrowed money from a loan shark, it is important to remember that you have done nothing wrong and there is no shame in seeking help.

FAIRshare Credit Union is a safe and legal alternative to borrowing from a loan shark and we would urge you to reach out to us to avoid falling into the clutches of illegal loan sharks. If one of FAIRshare’s services is not available to you, we will signpost you to the FREE, confidential advice. Please always view our Cost of Living section of our website.

Members who believe they may be involved with a loan shark or suspect that one is operating in their area can seek advice and support from the Illegal Money Lending Team by calling 0300 555 2222, emailing or filling out an online form at Live Chat is available on the website between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

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