How to spot a loan shark

Anyone who operates a moneylending business without being registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is acting illegally.

They might be a loan shark if they:

  • don’t offer paperwork - so you don’t know how much you still owe
  • charge very high rates of interest - rates up to 131,000% APR have been seen
  • add more on to the debt so you struggle to pay it back
  • take items as ‘security’ - sometimes things like passports and bank cards
  • use threats, intimidation or violence to try and get you to pay them

Around 310,000 households in the UK are thought to borrow from loan sharks so it’s a big problem. Loan sharks often target vulnerable people so by reporting one, you can help to stop others from being exploited, spiralling into debt and possibly being in danger of harm. 

Borrow money safely

Please don’t use a loan shark, even if you think they’re a friend - they usually start out being friendly but things quickly change. If you need to borrow money use a credit union or a bank or building society.

Find out more about managing your money and where to get debt advice.

Report a loan shark

If you know about a loan shark please report them. If you’ve borrowed money from them you haven’t broken the law, they have. Everything you say is confidential.