Stop Loan Sharks Week 2024

Have you ever heard of loan sharks or illegal money lending? 

Being a victim of illegal money lending, such as borrowing from loan sharks, can put you at risk of homelessness. 

When people struggle to repay the high interest rates and fees charged by loan sharks, they may find themselves trapped in a cycle of debt that becomes impossible to escape. As a result, they may be forced to prioritise loan repayments over essential living expenses, such as rent or mortgage payments, eventually leading to eviction or repossession of their home. This vulnerability can lead to them losing their accommodation and facing homelessness. 

It’s crucial to seek help and support to avoid these harmful situations and find safer ways to manage your finances. 

Over the last few years, we have seen in the media the devastating impact that illegal money lending can have with someone’s housing situation, such as in 2021, the BBC reported the news about a lady called Michelle who started off borrowing a small amount from a fellow mum who she met in the school playground. This fellow mum was actually an illegal money lender and a small amount of money, turned into a larger amount with interest. She became subject to threats and her home was ransacked and vandalised. She had to leave her home with her children. She was then able to reach out to the organisation Stop Loan Sharks for help. 

Stop Loan Shark week 2024 is all about raising awareness and taking action to stop illegal money lending. The campaign aims to help people understand the dangers of borrowing from loan sharks, who charge extremely high interest rates and often use intimidation and violence to collect payments. 

No Blame lies with the person who has borrowed money. 

There is no shame in it. 

The blame and fault rests with the loan shark.

The goal is to support those who may be affected by loan sharks and to encourage anyone who’s being exploited to seek help and report these illegal activities to the authorities. 

Stop Loan Sharks (SLS) works nationally and  is led by the Illegal Money Lending Team who are hosted by Birmingham City Council. SLS investigates and prosecutes illegal money lenders and provides support for borrowers in the UK. If you have borrowed from a loan shark or are concerned about someone else, SLS is here to provide help and keep you safe, with specially trained staff offering emotional and practical support tailored to your needs.

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, driving licence, passport, watch, or other valuables from you?

How to Report A Loan Shark: 

Stop Loan Sharks will help you. They understand that reporting a loan shark is scary, but they will help keep you safe. SLS has a form that you can complete to report a loan shark to their team

You can complete the form if you think you are paying money to a loan shark or if you know someone who is. 

You can report a loan shark or illegal money lender to them in full confidence and completely anonymously. After you have reported a loan shark to SLS, they will contact you – at a time that suits you – and talk to you about what has happened.

If you are worried about someone you know, they also have a 24-hour helpline on 0300 555 2222 for confidential advice and support. 

SLS will investigate the lender, talk to you about your concerns, and let you know what steps you can take to help the person.

For more information, check out the SLS website here (Live Chat available 9am-5pm, Mon-Fri)

Find out more about Michelle’s story and watch a video as she shares her experience on the SLS website here 

The England Illegal Money Lending Team is hosted by Birmingham City Council