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Anyone can be a victim of a loan shark – your family, friends, neighbours and even you.
It’s not always easy to spot a loan shark as they come in all shapes and sizes and will at first appear friendly, just part of the community. It is when you can’t pay that they will turn on you.
A loan shark is someone who lends cash as an unauthorised business.
If someone is struggling to pay a debt the loan shark will resort to threats, violence and intimidation to get what he thinks you owe, even if the debt has been paid off several times over.
A loan shark will typically have little paperwork and, will add penalty charges for late payments. Sometimes they will add random sums to the bill.
Many victims keep paying because they think they can afford the agreed weekly sum, but they don’t realise how much their continuing weekly payments add up to or they are too afraid to stop payments.
Our advice is that you should never go to a loan shark. They do not provide a community service; they are simply out to make money.
- Are running an unauthorised business under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000
- Often refuse to tell the borrower how much they still owe, when they will finish repayments.
- Often increase the debt or add additional amounts.
- May take items as security- including passports, bank cards and driving licences. May resort to violence, threats and intimidation.
What is being done to stop this?
The Illegal Money Lending Team investigates illegal money lending and any related offences- in the past this has included violence, blackmail, drugs offences, threats, kidnap and even rape.
If you think you may be involved with a loan shark, call the team in confidence on 0300 555 2222.