Stop Loan Sharks (COVID-19) Update

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) recognise that this period may be one of increased financial pressure for some people. The Team is committed to ensuring that illegal money lenders (loan sharks) do not take advantage and profit from other people’s hardship.

The Stop Loan Sharks helpline service (0300 555 2222) remains open and fully operational during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We encourage not only victims but friends, family members and the wider community to come forward if they suspect someone is suffering at the hands of loan sharks.

Anyone lending money should have the correct permission from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Legal lenders have to comply with strict guidance and ensure they are dealing with customers fairly, using proper paperwork and legal collection methods.

This is not the case with unlicensed money lenders, who will often offer cash loans without paperwork, use benefit or bank cards as security, and threaten or use violence to get money.

If you are planning on borrowing money, please protect yourself from loan sharks and check the lender is authorised by the FCA.

You can check if a company is authorised to lend money with Loan Smart.

Our partners at Citizens AdviceThe Money Advice Service and StepChange Debt Charity have a wealth of information available to help people whose health and finances have been affected by the current situation.

Please see links below for information on entitlements and support that may be available to you.

GOV.UK – Support for those affected by COVID-19

Citizens Advice: Coronavirus – what is means for you

Money Advice Service: Coronavirus – what it means for you

Stepchange: Coronavirus and your finances

Wishing all our colleagues and partners safety and good health during these difficult and uncertain times.

To report a loan shark, call the Stop Loan Sharks Helpline on 0300 555 2222, email reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk or complete an online report form here.