What is a loan shark?

Illegal money lenders, or loan sharks, take many forms – you may not even realise that you have borrowed from an unlicensed lender.


If you’re unsure if you have borrowed money from a loan shark, here are a few tell-tale signs:

  • They offer you a loan but do not give you any paperwork
  • They take your bank card as security on the loan
  • They don’t tell you when you will finish paying
  • They increase the amount you owe, even if you are making regular payments
  • They threaten or use violence to get money from you


If you have borrowed money from a loan shark, you have not broken the law. It’s the trader who is operating illegally, and they often target the vulnerable or people who are struggling to access mainstream credit.

Don't get bitten by a loan shark

For more information on loan sharks, click here or look for Stop Loan Sharks on Facebook and twitter.

To report an illegal money lender in confidence:

  • Call 0300 555 222 (local call rate, including inclusive mobile minutes)
  • Text ‘loan shark’ and details to 60003
  • Email reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk


If you do need to borrow money, our Money Wise Team can advise about other options available to you. Please contact us on 01282 686300, or email MoneyWise@calico.org.uk