Stop Loan Sharks
The Stop Loan Sharks team are available to help you 24/7. They are the only government agency in the UK who have the power to investigate and prosecute loan sharks and illegal money lenders.
You are not in trouble if you have borrowed cash or have been paying back a loan from an illegal money lender, the loan shark is. They are the people committing a crime, not you.
By looking on the Stop Loan Sharks website (www.stoploansharks.co.uk) you will be taking the first step to getting your life back and managing your money and debts. We will keep you safe while we investigate the loan shark.
You can report a loan shark or illegal money lender to us in full confidence and completely anonymously. After you have reported a loan shark to us we will ring you, if you want us to – at a time to suit you – and talk to you about what has happened.
You will have a LIAISE Officer who will support you throughout the investigation into the illegal money lender.
Their investigators will talk to you about the money you have borrowed, how you repay it and take further information about the loan shark/illegal money lender. This can become a witness statement that you will be asked to sign. But you can also give this information to us anonymously and in complete confidence.
What happens next?
The decision to make a formal witness statement is entirely up to you. We know that making the statement can be scary. But your Liaise Officer will be with you at every step to explain what happens next and support you through it.
Your witness statement will help the Stop Loan Sharks Team to take action against loan sharks/illegal money lenders. It will become part of the evidence used in court.
If the loan shark threatens you after you make a witness statement and you are in danger call the police immediately on 999 or the Stop Loan Sharks hotline 0300 555 2222 which is available at any time of the day or night.
Getting your life back
Money worries and being desperate for cash can become the only thing you think about. They will help get a loan shark off your back and get you access to local support.
Your Liaise Officer will put you directly in touch with credit unions, advice services, or organisations that will help with your health and wellbeing. You will have one-to-one support from them to help you get your life back and reduce your money worries.
Anyone can be a victim of a loan shark – your family, friends, colleagues, neighbours and even you.
If you’re worried that someone you know is involved with a loan shark, we have some advice and tips to help you support them.
How do I know if it’s really a loan shark debt?
Common warning signs include:
- Debt that keeps growing even though they’re making regular payments
- Saying bad things will happen to them if they don’t pay on time
- Feeling afraid or anxious about visitors to their home
- Stopping seeing friends and family – emotionally withdrawing from others
- Handing over all their benefits and money to someone they owe money to
- Handing over personal items (bank card, passport, jewellery) to someone they owe money to
- Receiving threatening text messages about money being owed
- Being forced into having sex or committing crimes to pay off their debts
- Being anxious, depressed, withdrawn and experiencing suicidal thoughts
- Showing signs of physical violence, such as bruises, sprains or cuts
- Not wanting to leave their house and shutting curtains to avoid being noticed
If you’re worried a friend or loved one is involved with a loan shark, letting the person know you are concerned about them might help them take the first step and access support. They might not be ready to talk but any information you can get from them could help start an investigation into the loan shark.
What do I do if someone has told me about the loan shark?
If someone confides in you that they are involved with a loan shark, it’s important you don’t blame but show empathy to their situation.
It can be harrowing to listen to someone you care about disclosing they are suffering at the hands of a loan shark. We are here to help you – you don’t have to give your details (or your friends/family members) we can just talk you through their options, and the ways you can help.
You can check the FCA register to see if the lender is authorised or send us a message on Live Chat and we’ll check for you.
- Listen carefully and take care not to blame them
- Acknowledge they’re in a scary and difficult situation but there is a way out
- Give them time to talk and try not to interrupt them
- Remind them they are worthy of help and they don’t have to go through it alone
- Tell them nobody deserves to be threatened or treated this way, the loan shark has no legal right to recover the debt
- Tell them there are others who have been in a similar situation but got help
- Ask if they have suffered physical harm – if so, offer to go with them to a hospital or GP
- Help them report the loan shark to our team if they choose to
- Be ready to provide information on organisations that offer help
What should I do next?
If you are worried about someone you know, you can call the Stop Loan Sharks 24-hour helpline on 0300 555 2222 for confidential advice and support. They’ll check the lender out, talk to you about your concerns and let you know what steps you can take to help the person.
We know people are often ashamed or worried about what will happen to them if they report a loan shark. It’s important to remember that bad things happen when people don’t report loan sharks. You have done the right thing coming forward.
Stop Loan Sharks Live Chat is a discreet way to access support if you’re not ready or able to make a call you can click on the chat icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen of their website to talk online with the team. They’re online 9am to 5pm weekdays (excluding bank holidays) or call anytime on 0300 555 2222.
They’re trained team has lots of experience and can give you quick and discreet advice if you’re involved with a loan shark or you are worried about someone else.
Call 0300 555 2222 at any time of the day or night