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Loan Sharks - Illegal money lenders in the community

Loan Sharks are unlicensed moneylenders operating outside the law. They are lending money without a credit licence from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). The best advice for dealing with loan sharks is 'don't'. They usually charge very high interest rates and sometimes use threats and violence to frighten people who cannot repay. They may also take your benefit entitlement or other valuable items as security, and may offer more and more loans leading to debt which you could never repay, and which there seems to be no way out of.

With an estimated 310,000 households in the UK borrowing from loan sharks, illegal money lending is a problem across the country. Loan Sharks often target some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, leaving them in position where they are struggling to get through each day because of the amount they are paying .

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Read Jayne's story and Mike's story to find out more about the way loan sharks operate and the help available.

A ‘loan shark’ is anyone who is lending money without having a licence from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). These unlicensed money-lenders are working illegally.

You can check if someone has a licence either by using the online Consumer Credit Register search or you can call 0800 111 6768 Monday to Friday, between 8am and 6pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm.

If you are dealing with a loan shark the Illegal Money Lending Team is on hand to help you.