Illegal Money Lending

Stop Loan Sharks

If money is tight, don’t be tempted to use a loan shark. A Real Life story of a Loan Shark borrower​ (PDF, 39KB).

We work with The Trading Standards South East illegal money lending team to tackle loan sharks. They are authorised to operate in the area, will investigate and prosecute loan sharks for illegal lending and related criminal activity.

They work closely with partners such as credit unions, housing associations, the health sector and voluntary groups to raise awareness of the dangers of loan sharks and how to spot the warning signs. If you are a victim, they can help you understand and regain control of your finances and support witnesses through court cases.

People often start by borrowing a small amount but have to pay excessive interest rates and end up paying back far more than they imagined. In fact, they are often not aware of how much they pay as loan sharks rarely provide paperwork or repayment plans or explain what interest rates they are charging.

It is also unfortunate that loan sharks have been known to resort to violence and intimidation to get back what they think they are owed. Having the illegal money lending team available to investigate allegations on the island will act as a deterrent to any loan sharks while also providing reassurances to the local community.

The team will be asking people to stop and think:

  • have you, or anyone you know, been offered a cash loan?
  • have you been threatened when you couldn’t pay?
  • has your benefit card been taken from you?
  • does what you owe keep growing even though you are making payments?
  • do you know the total amount owed, the APR or how to cancel?

Nationally, the 'Stop Loan Sharks' project has helped more than 11,500 victims, written off more than £31 million of illegal debt, secured more than 60 years of prison sentences and is pursuing over £10 million of criminal assets through the courts.

Resources have been developed by teachers to warn young people about Loan Sharks, funded by prosecuted Loan Sharks through the Proceeds of Crime Act and prevent them using illegal money lenders.

The materials contribute to a variety of curriculum area, such as Maths, English, PSHEe, Drama, Art and Design and cover all key stages. They are PFEG quality marked and also deliver many core learning objectives from the PFEG primary and secondary planning frameworks.

For primary schools, lessons about keeping your money safe, where does money come from and the difference between need and want. It also introduces the idea of saving and looks at issues around borrowing and lending possessions and money.

For secondary schools, lessons about safer lending and borrowing that reflect key financial inclusion objectives around when and how to borrow, values around money, saving and what can go wrong if you don’t make the right choice. There are lessons on credit, shopping around to get the best credit deal and the dangers of borrowing from Loan Sharks.


For confidential help and advice, call 0300 555 2222 or email

Text “loan shark” and your message to 60003.

We can provide advice as soon as you call and remember, you will not get into trouble with the authorities, it is the loan shark that is breaking the law!