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Loan sharks

How do I report a loan shark? 

Help us stop loan sharks now

Would you know how to spot a loan shark? What would you do if you or someone close to you became tangled in a spiral of debt to an unlicensed lender?

With an estimated 310,000 households in the UK borrowing from unlicensed lenders, or loan sharks as they are more commonly known, the scale of the problem is massive. Anyone who operates a money lending business without a licence from the Office of Fair Trading is acting illegally. The Northwest Trading Standards Authority’s illegal money lending team are cracking down on unlicensed lenders who:

  • rarely offer paperwork so those who borrow from them are kept in the dark about how much they still owe
  • can charge extortionate rates of interest- rates of 131,000% APR have been seen
  • add additional amounts to the debt so the borrowers struggle to repay
  • take items as security - these items could even include passports and bank cards
  • resort to extreme methods to reclaim their debts - this could mean threats, intimidation, violence or worse

Loan sharks often target some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, leaving them in position where they are struggling to get through each day because of the amount they are paying to the loan shark.

Loan sharks are not a community service and should never be used under any circumstances. Many loan sharks start out as friends to their borrowers but quickly change.

If you have borrowed from an unlicensed lender you have not broken the law, they have. Speak to us in confidence.

For more information visit the GOV.UK website.