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With the cost of things going up, more of us are borrowing money. For some, that means loan sharks or legitimate sources with super high-interest rates. Oh, and there’s lots of scams out there now too!

  • Over 1.08 million people in England are in debt to a loan shark in 2022
  • A loan shark can be anyone, even a 78-year-old grandma

With the cost-of-living crisis biting, the number of people going to a loan shark (along with other scams) is on the rise. So what can we look out for?

First off, a loan shark can be anyone. 20% of the people arrested last year for illegal money lending were female. They can be of any age too, like this 78-year-old pensioner loan shark.

Proof of someone or something being legitimate doesn’t only apply to loan sharks. We should get into the habit of checking numbers, links on emails or just asking for identification.

As we hear in the video, before handing over personal information do some checks first.

Legitimate organisations, won’t mind you checking. So if someone turns up on your doorstep or calls you and you have suspicions, ask them to wait while you make some checks.

Catching a shark

  • 80% of loan shark victims had first applied to legal lenders before turning to exploiters
  • In some cases, you might be able to claim some of the money you have paid them back.

The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) found that 80% of loan shark victims had first applied to legal lenders before turning to exploiters often posing as ‘friends’.

You can report a loan shark to StopLoanSharks.co.uk. Or by calling 0300 555 2222. Here you can speak with trained staff who can give you the practical and emotional support that you might need.

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Credit unions and bad credit

  • Credit unions can provide affordable loans and finance plans to local people

According to James from Great Western Credit Union,

more high street lenders are turning applications down, especially if your credit rating isn’t perfect or you want to borrow a small amount.

The Financial Conduct Authority regulates credit unions, your money and repayments are far safer than illegal options. Credit unions can also help their customers to get better credit ratings. You can find your local credit union using this handy credit union search tool.

  • The England IMLT have launched the latest round of their Stop Loan Sharks Community Fund with a share of £160,000 funding up for grabs.

    Charities, community groups, schools, and public and private sector voluntary sector organisations can bid for up to £5,000 funding if it supports a project designed to raise awareness of the dangers of loan sharks and help to make communities safer.

Struggling financially?

The sooner you let Bromford know the better. The best thing to do is contact your neighbourhood coach. If you're unsure who they are, you can find your neighbourhood coach and their details here.

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