The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) is concerned that ruthless loan sharks will try to cash in on the festive period as many families struggle to cope with rising food, fuel and energy bills this winter.  


Christmas is a time for joy and happiness, but for the millions of families struggling with spiralling debt to loan sharks, it can be the most terrifying time of the year.  Figures show that nearly one in ten people who borrowed from loan sharks last year did so to cover the costs of Christmas.  


Loan sharks create an environment of fear, intimidation and control for their victims and they will use almost any means to tempt people into taking out a loan with them. They know how to spot people who are vulnerable and who need money. This creates a vicious cycle of debt for those unable to pay back their loans and often leads to serious financial issues, such as families losing their homes or being pushed into extreme poverty because they do not have enough money to survive.  


It's especially important we spread awareness of loan sharks tactics during the festive season when their activity increases dramatically. 


Loan sharks present a significant threat to the safety, security and well-being of many individuals in your community. They use deceptive tactics that can isolate people from friends, family and support services. You can put an end to the suffering these criminals inflict on borrowers by being aware of their tactics and techniques, so you’ll know how to spot and stop them.


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?

For more information please visit the Stop Loan Sharks website.