Stop Loan Sharks

A loan shark is an unlicensed moneylender.   Licensed moneylenders are regulated by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and must follow the OFT's codes of practice.  Because they're not licensed, loan sharks operate outside the law. If you borrow from them it's likely you'll:

  • get a loan on very bad terms    pay an extortionate rate of interest
  • be harassed if you get behind with your repayments
  • be pressured into borrowing more from them to repay one debt with another
  • If you have borrowed from an illegal money lender, you haven't committed a crime - they have, and they could receive a prison sentence.

How to spot a loan shark

Loan sharks will often:

  • start out being friendly - their behaviour only changes when repayments are missed
  • offer little or no paperwork
  • increase the debt or add additional amounts
  • refuse to give the borrower vital information, such as the interest rate
  • take items as security - for example, passports, bank cards or driving licences
  • resort to intimidation, threats or violence

How to find out if a lender is licensed

  • The Consumer Credit Public Register lists everyone with an OFT licence. It also lists everyone who has applied for one or has had one taken away or suspended.
  • You can get basic information from the register free of charge, including trading names and the activities for which a business is licensed.
  • To search the public register, telephone 020 7211 8608 between 9.30 am and 4.00 pm Monday to Friday or do an online search using the link below.
  • If a lender isn't listed as having a current licence, don't borrow money from them.

You can report a loan shark in confidence to an Illegal Money Lending Team.

Call:  0300 555 2222

text LOAN SHARK and the details you want to pass on to 60003

send an email to

Twitter: @loansharknews

Who to contact

0300 555 2222 0300 555 2222
Social Media
Find us on Facebook

Other Details


Last Updated

Last updated: 16/07/2020


Save to Shortlist
Send details by text
Skip back to top of page