Loan Sharks: What are they and how to avoid them

September 24, 2022 • Chris Bardsley

Borrowing from loan sharks can quickly lead to a spiral of debt that’s difficult to break free from. In times when you’re struggling financially, there are better and safer ways to borrow money than from a loan shark, and we’re here to help you through it. You could look into the government help available, talk with friends and family and explore ethical lenders, like Fair for You.

In this blog post, we cover the ins and outs of loan sharks - and how you can avoid them.

What is a loan shark?

Loan sharks are illegal money lenders who often charge extremely high-interest rates and use intimidation tactics to force borrowers to repay their debt. Loan sharks typically operate in cash-only businesses, making it difficult for borrowers to track their payments or keep records of their loans. You can quickly end up in a cycle of debt with a loan shark by your side.

If you’re considering borrowing money and have questioned whether you’re dealing with a loan shark, the team at Stop Loan Sharks have pulled together questions to ask yourself:

Not Sure What A Loan Shark Is?

If you can answer yes to one or more of these questions, you might be borrowing from a loan shark:

  • Did they offer you a cash loan?

  • Did they not give you paperwork?

  • Did they add huge amounts of interest or APR to your loan?

  • Have they threatened you?

  • Are you scared of people finding out?

  • Have they taken your bank card, benefit card, passport, watch or other valuables from you?

If you’re struggling to repay a loan from a loan shark, it is important to seek help from a reputable financial institution or debt relief agency - such as the Stop Loan Sharks Hotline or MoneyHelper. You can speak to these organisations in confidence about your financial situation and receive some much-needed advice.

If you are being harassed by a loan shark, you should also contact your local police department. By taking these steps, you can protect yourself from loan shark exploitation and get on the path toward financial stability.

Why are loan sharks bad?

Loan sharks are bad news for anyone, but they can be especially harmful to low-income individuals. They often take advantage of people when their finances have been hit hard, offering cash in desperate situations, which is particularly worrying currently with the rising cost of living and energy crisis.

While they can seem helpful in these tight situations, borrowing from a loan shark can turn nasty very quickly. Whether it’s using aggressive tactics to collect debts, constant messages or threats to repay, the process can become very stressful and even dangerous. If you're struggling to make ends meet, there are plenty of other options for getting financial assistance that can help you borrow safely.

There are plenty of alternatives for finance, and assistance is available to you if you think you’ve borrowed from a loan shark

Stop Loan Sharks: “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’re worried that you have borrowed from a loan shark, and think that this could get you into trouble, the Stop Loan Sharks team can categorically tell you that you haven’t committed a crime, and help is available. Speak to the team in complete confidence, with the knowledge that they will act with your care in mind - more information and help is available here.

Equally, if you’re worried that a friend or someone you know has turned to a loan shark, you can visit the Stop Loan Sharks website here, where you can find help on guiding this person through the process of identifying whether they’re borrowing from a loan shark, and how to get help.

You can also turn to Fair for You instead of a loan shark

Whether your oven has just broken or your washing machine is on the way out, Fair for You is here to provide manageable loans to cover your household essentials. Just head to our eligibility checker to see whether a Fair for You loan is the best option for you right now.

Flexible, affordable loans for whatever life throws at you

We're on your side - whether your old washer is driving you round the bend, the little ones’ bed is on its last legs or you need some extra food in over the school holidays.

Our loans are not charity - but we are wholly owned by one. Our profits don’t go into big corporations’ pockets - but they do go back into yours.

We should all have a choice when it comes to paying for our home essentials. Sadly, this is not the case for many people across the country, which is why we are on a mission to revolutionise credit and the way lending is done.

No unfair hidden fees. No triple figure interest rates. And no judgement.

We're here to help.

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If you come across any external links that don’t work, we would be grateful if you could report them to the web content team.

The content of this blog does not constitute personal financial advice, and the views expressed in it are those of the contributor or author, which may not necessarily represent or reflect the views expressed by Fair for You Enterprise CIC.

This entry was posted in Finance, Health and Wellness and Blog