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Is Your Client in Debt to a Loan Shark?

June 20, 2024

Is Your Client in Debt to a Loan Shark? Featured Image

The England Illegal Money Lending Team – or Stop Loan Sharks – relies on partner organisations across England to help in the ongoing fight against illegal lenders.

A loan shark, or illegal money lender, is someone who lends money and asks for repayments, but who does not have the necessary authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They do not follow the rules and regulations that the FCA has in place to protect borrowers.

Loan sharks can crop up in any section of society and target people from all walks of life and there are many organisations who might come across someone who is showing signs of being in debt to an illegal lender.

Stop Loan Sharks needs help from those organisations to ensure that these people are spotted early and can be signposted to the specialist help and support they need.

Stop Loan Sharks statistics show that it can take a borrower over two years from the point of taking a loan before they report an illegal lender.

That can be for various reasons; they may be facing threats, but it may also be that they are ashamed and fearful that their family, friends or colleagues may find out. They may also be embarrassed that they have fallen for a loan shark’s manipulative tactics and ended up in overwhelming debt.

This is where our frontline partners come in. Even if borrowers are not ready to openly admit they have been targeted by an illegal lender, they may give away vital clues that means action can be taken to help them.

Simply by asking the right questions and knowing where to direct that person for advice and help can make a huge difference in someone’s life, saving them from being trapped in a cycle of debt and misery.

There are many warning signs that someone is in debt to an illegal lender, including the following:

  1. They may be struggling financially but be unable to explain why. They may have a job or steady income but still can’t make ends meet
  2. They may be withdrawn, anxious or depressed and decline social invitations with no reason
  3. They may be afraid to leave home, or anxious about visitors
  4. They may be constantly short of cash and always looking for ways to avoid spending or cut back
  5. They may not have access to their bank card or passport because they may have handed it over to a loan shark as security
  6. They may be receiving threatening texts or calls
  7. They may mention that they have borrowed from a friend or family member – but even close friends or relatives may still be a loan shark

Stop Loan Sharks offers free specialist training for organisations to help staff spot these signs and know what steps to take next. This training can be tailored to suit any organisation and we also offer free publicity material – posters, blogs and leaflets to help spread the word.

Organisations can also become an accredited partner and will receive regular updates and an action plan developed with our team to protect clients and the local community from illegal lenders.

If you have a client who you think is in the position you can refer them to Stop Loan Sharks for confidential help and support.

They – or you – can call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222 or join the live chat which is available on the website www.stoploansharks.co.uk from Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

For further information on the support available and how to get in touch, visit the website www.stoploansharks.co.uk

Remember to remind your client that they have done nothing wrong if they have borrowed from a loan shark. It is the lender who has committed a crime.