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2018 - December, Latest news

Everyone is tempted to overspend at Christmas - whether it’s to buy bigger and better presents, extra decorations, or particularly fine foods and treats. But sometimes people spend more money than they have – and that makes them a target for loan sharks.

Don’t get caught out this year by a loan shark’s smile. They seem friendly at first, but they can soon turn nasty if you don’t keep up the payments.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) wants to warn everyone not to fall into the loan shark trap this Christmas.

Loan sharks are a scourge on our communities. This time of year is especially profitable for them as they prey of people trying to cope with the pressures of Christmas. If you do need to borrow this year, do so from a responsible, ethical source - such as a credit union and avoid turning to illegal money lenders

Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team.

How do you spot a loan shark?

Any person lending money should have a consumer credit licence from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Licensed lenders have to comply with legal obligations but loan sharks don’t.

You can check if someone is authorised to lend money by visiting the Financial Conduct Authority’s website and searching for a company, person or postcode through their Financial Services Register

If they don’t have the right paperwork don’t borrow from them. It’s that simple. Don’t borrow if you have to give personal items such as your passport or driving licence as security. 

If you have fallen into their trap and you are threatened, or have extra money added to your debt unexpectedly, report them immediately. You have not committed a crime by borrowing from them - but they have.

If you have been the victim of a loan shark, contact the Illegal Money Lending Team. Their lines are open around the clock throughout the festive season. They are there to help, not judge, and will let you know what your options are so you can decide what to do.

To report a loan shark: