The recent increase in the cost of living is squeezing all of our pockets, and you might find that you are relying more on borrowed money to make ends meet. However, you should avoid borrowing from loan sharks at all costs.
The dangers of loan sharks
Loan sharks are unregulated, they often give loans without any paperwork and charge extortionate interest rates. They may also use threats of violence to extort money from you – all of which is illegal. Luckily there is help available, but awareness is just as important as prevention, so it is important that you know how to spot a loan shark so you can protect yourself and those around you.
What is a loan shark?
A loan shark is an illegal lender who is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (F.C.A) Lenders who aren’t regulated by the F.C.A are considered loan sharks and you shouldn’t use them. Loan sharks prey on the vulnerable and exploit them for their own monetary gain.
How to spot a loan shark
A loan shark looks like any other person on the street, but they will display certain behaviours that will let you know that you are dealing with a criminal.
For instance, loan sharks won’t give you paperwork upon the agreement of a loan and they may refuse to give detailed information about your loan. This means that you won’t have a legally binding contract to tell you what you owe and when you have to pay it back.
They may also intimidate or threaten you, or take things from you if you do not pay on time. They could even take your personal items such as a bank card, benefits card, valuables or a passport until your debt is paid.
In many cases, victims are introduced through a friend, family member or because they are known in the community. Other people may be borrowing from that loan shark as well, so if you report a loan shark it could make a difference to not just you but the whole community.
If you’ve borrowed from a loan shark, don’t worry, you’re not in trouble, and are probably under no legal obligation to repay the debt.
How to report a loan shark
Report a loan shark in complete confidence to Stop Loan Sharks. They will investigate the case and put people who are lending money illegally in prison. You can also report a loan shark on behalf of someone you are worried about. Click here: https://www.stoploansharks.co.uk/report-a-loan-shark/
Suspected loan shark arrested following West Bromwich operation as electronic equipment seized – Birmingham Live (birminghammail.co.uk)