Illegal lending

Loan sharks are illegal lenders who often target people who need to borrow money and can’t access it from legal sources. They might seem friendly at first but borrowing from them is never a good idea – even if you feel you have no other options.

Remember, if in doubt, check the lender out! Anyone lending money must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

You can check to make sure a lender is registered at the Financial Conduct Authority

If you’ve already borrowed from a loan shark, the important thing to remember is you haven't broken the law and there is help available.

Loan sharks might increase the debt or add extra charges at any time, even if you’re making regular payments. It’s important you get help because the debt can spiral out of control very quickly. Find out more on Stop Loan Sharks

Reporting a loan shark

In England, you can also report them to the Stop Loan Sharks team by calling 0300 555 2222 or at Stop Loan Sharks

Alternatives to loan sharks

Credit union 

Credit unions are not-for-profit, member owned, community savings and loans providers. They operate with three main aims:

  • to provide loans at low rates of interest
  • to encourage all members to save regularly
  • to help members in need of financial advice and assistance.

You’ll have to become a member of the credit union. Search to find your nearest credit union

Liberty Credit Union

Liberty Credit Union offers a fair, flexible and affordable loans to members, making it easier to access support.