An estimated 310,000 households in the UK borrow from loan sharks every year.
The Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) is a national team that investigates and prosecutes loan sharks and works closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), local Trading Standards and police forces to crack down on illegal money lending.
A loan shark is someone who lends money without the correct authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It is a criminal offence to lend money without authorisation and can lead to a two year prison sentence and/or £5,000 fine.
A loan shark might:
- Offer little or no paperwork on a loan, such as a credit agreement or record of payments
- Refuse to give borrowers information, such as the interest rate or how much you owe
- Take items as security, such as passports, bank cards and driving licences
- Increase the debt or add additional charges at any time
- Refuse to allow you to settle your debt
- Get nasty – they might use intimidation, threats or violence to enforce repayment
If someone is lending you money they must be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.
Call the Illegal Money Lending Team on 0300 555 2222 or visit the FCA website and they will tell you if the lender is legal or illegal.
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.
If you or someone you know have fallen victim to a loan shark, you can contact the Illegal Money Lending Team 24/7 on 0300 555 2222 for anonymous information and in the strictest of confidence.
After you have reported a loan shark a member of the team will contact you at a time to suit you. They will confidentially talk to you about the loan shark.
You can also make a report online by visiting this page.
- The Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) was set up in 2004. It investigates and prosecutes illegal money lenders while supporting those who have borrowed money from a loan shark. The team have secured hundreds of prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity and helped thousands of people. You can find out more by visiting the IMLT website, Facebook or Twitter.