3. Loan sharks
A loan shark is an illegal money lender who operates without a licence from the Office of Fair Trading.
Loan sharks often target vulnerable people. They work alone, or have a tight group of collectors.
How to spot a loan shark
- Illegal money lenders generally start out being friendly, and are often heard of through a friend, but can change very quickly as soon as payment is missed.
- Frequently illegal money lenders offer little or no paperwork (agreements, payment books, receipts).
- If you do sign paperwork, they may not give you a copy (as required by the Consumer Credit Act 1974).
- Often illegal money lenders do not tell the victims the interest rate, they can add extra charges or increase the amount despite the victims making regular payments.
- They often accept payments in cash and collect weekly.
- They will often refuse to tell victims when they will finish paying or how much they still owe.
- Illegal money lenders may take passports, driving licences, benefits cards, bank cards or other items as security for the loan.
- Sometimes illegal money lenders make their victims feel threatened and intimated or are violent towards them.
Report a loan shark
If you suspect a loan shark is working in your area, contact the confidential advice line:
- Phone: 0300 555 2222
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Text: loanshark to 60003
- Online: Report a loan shark (Gov.uk website)