Don't get Sharked

The England Illegal Money Lending Team work in partnership with Trading Standards Authorities across the country to investigate illegal money lending and related criminality, bringing offenders to justice through the Stop Loan Sharks Project.

The Stop Loan Sharks Project are cracking down on loan sharks who cause nothing but misery in communities. Through enforcement action, awareness raising and education they aim to put an end to this callous crime.

The message is clear - what may seem like a small loan to tide people over for a short period, could end up costing them for much longer.  The effect is not just financial; the impact on the lives of victims and their families can be horrific.

Visit the Stop Loan Sharks website where you can find out what is a Loan Shark, report a Loan Shark online and find out more about what Stop Loan Sharks can do to help you.

If you have been the victim of a loan shark, help is at hand:

Call 0300 555 2222 to speak to the team in confidence.
Their lines are answered 24/7 by a trained investigator.

Follow these safety tips to protect yourself and loved ones from loan sharks: 

  1. If you're struggling to make ends meet and need cash fast, the thought of a loan shark might seem tempting, but remember these lenders are not your friends. Debt can quickly spiral out of control – it's important to think carefully before taking out a loan and consider other options. 
  2. Never send money or give credit card, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust. This information is valuable so make sure you protect it from criminals who can use it to find and stalk you, harass you or threaten those you love.
  3. If you’re thinking about borrowing money, it’s important to check that your lender is genuine. Loan sharks operate illegally without the correct permission from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Do your research first and check the firm or person you're dealing with is listed on the Financial Services Register.
  4. When exploitative loan sharks are preying on hardship, it’s vital for people to know there is an ethical, local, not-for-profit alternative available. Credit unions are a lifeline for many people, with their services helping members to save regularly, borrow responsibly and keep track of their finances. There are other community lenders who are mostly not for profit, and who reinvest any surpluses into serving vulnerable customers, which can be found on
  5. Getting trapped in a never-ending spiral of debt after borrowing from a loan shark can have devastating consequences, not only on your finances but also on most other aspects of your life, including your mental health, work and relationships with your family and friends. If you're worried about a friend or family member, or if you need help yourself, Stop Loan Sharks can offer confidential advice and support.

Are you worried about a friend or family member who is being taken advantage of by a loan shark? Contact the Stop Loan Sharks 24/7 Helpline on 0300 555 2222 for support or visit Live Chat is available on the website between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. 

Illegal Money Lending Team

Tony Quigley Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team said “We value the opinion of the public as it helps us to discover more about how loan sharks affect our communities and target our awareness raising accordingly. Illegal money lending is a despicable crime, which leaves people living in misery and fear.

We would urge anyone who knows of a loan shark operating to call us on 0300 555 2222. Our lines are open 24/7 and all calls are treated in confidence”.