Don’t let them take a bite – loan sharks are illegal and can cost you thousands of pounds with outrageous repayments.
What is a loan shark?
Loan sharks are illegal lenders who often target low income, desperate families. They will seem friendly at first, and if you keep up with repayments they may stay that way. But you will pay for more interest than any form of legal borrowing – One woman who borrowed £500 ended up repaying £88,000 – Source: Money Advice Service
You may also be harassed or threatened, they often resort to extreme methods to receive their repayments. You may also be pressured into borrowing more money – with debt you will never be able to repay.
Loan sharks often have little or no paperwork, increase your debt at any time and refuse to give you information like how much you owe or your interest rate. You can check if your lender is legitimate on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) financial services register if your lender isn’t on the list – then they are not authorised and you shouldn’t lend from them.
How to get help
Credit unions are recommended as a safe, alternative lending and saving facility. To find out about Castle & Crystal Credit Union in Dudley call 01384 815771
Dealing with debt
The Money Advice Service signpost a range of free debt advice.
Reporting loan sharks
If you suspect a loan shark is operating in your area please report it. Loan sharks can be reported confidentially by calling Illegal Money Lending England on 0300 555 2222 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, 24 hours a day, seven days a week or by emailing email@example.com You can also text a report to 078600 22116.