Loan sharks are being targeted as part of a national campaign aimed at putting a stop on illegal money lenders. The Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) gives users advice on how to avoid falling victim to loan sharks, as well as reporting illegal money lending in their community. It is estimated that 310,000 households in the UK are in debt to illegal money lenders.
What is a Loan Shark?
Any person lending money should have a consumer credit licence from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Loan sharks operate illegally without the correct permissions from the FCA. Licensed lenders have to comply with legal obligations in dealing with consumers, including the use of official paperwork and fair collection methods. These criminals often take benefit or bank cards as security and resort to violence and intimidation. Loan sharks can charge extortionate interest rates, making it impossible for victims to repay the loan.
How to protect yourself against Loan Sharks this Christmas:
- Save money regularly, so you are not in urgent need of a loan
- Do not accept cash loans, even if the lender seems friendly or helpful
- Search the FCA Financial Services register to check if the lender is legal
- If you need to borrow money, credit unions are a safer alternative than borrowing from a loan shark. Visit this website to find your nearest credit union.
For safe, confidential help or to report a loan shark, call the Illegal Money Lending Team on
0300 555 2222 (24hr) or visit www.stoploansharks.uk to make a report #StopLoanSharks.