Watch Out for Loan Sharks - Guest Blog Lisa

Christmas is around the corner and for some of us this means more financial pressure, this might tempt some people into borrowing from a loan shark, they love this time of year.

Loan sharks are criminals who pray on the vulnerable and 'fleece' their victims out of hard earned cash, usually from intimidation and violence.

So, how do we spot a loan shark?

  • They offer little or no paperwork
  • They may refuse to give borrowers information ie how much you owe or the agreed interest rates
  • They may take items for security such as your passport or bank card(s)
  • They will be likely to increase the debt or add additional charges at any time
  • They may refuse to allow you to settle the debt
  • They may get nasty, use intimidation or violence to force payments

The majority of loan sharks aren’t thugs, in fact only around 2% of loans sharks are involved in organised crime. They’re usually members of the community, the lady over the road or the local pub landlord for example.

Some interesting facts about Loan Sharks: 

62% of loan sharks are female

73% are introduced by family or friends

43% of victims went without food, utilities and missed rent / mortgage payments due to Loan Shark repayments

Loan sharks will charge you extortionate amounts of interest usually double what you borrow, and can charge £40-80 a day for missed payments. This will lead to the debt growing out of control, leading to worry, stress, depression and can sometimes sadly lead to criminal behaviour from the borrower in order to try and meet these payments! 

The main thing to remember is that loan sharks are illegal money lenders and can be prosecuted as they have no permission from the FCA (Financial Conuct Authority) to lend. If someone offers to loan you money there is a way to check if the lender is legitimate using a site such as


If you are or have been affected by a loan shark or know someone who is you can report them to the Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) in complete confidence on 0300 555 2222 24hrs a day, please don’t let a loan shark ruin any more lives.

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