Worried about someone else?
Friends, family, neighbours and community members can be a vital lifeline to those involved with loan sharks. If you are worried that someone you know may be a victim of illegal money lending, reassure them that Stop Loan Sharks and support services are still there to help and direct them to sources of support.
You can report the loan shark anonymously or you can speak to a specialist member of our team in the strictest confidence.
We will help go through your options and let you know next steps, such as:
- reporting the loan shark
- guiding you through the investigation process
- helping a friend or relative you’re worried about
- information about where you can go for help and support.
Worried about someone else
Anyone can be a victim of a loan shark – your family, friends, colleagues, neighbours and even you.
If you’re worried that someone you know is involved with a loan shark, we have some advice and tips to help you support them.
How do I know if it’s really a loan shark debt?
Common warning signs include:
- Debt that keeps growing even though they’re making regular payments
- Saying bad things will happen to them if they don’t pay on time
- Feeling afraid or anxious about visitors to their home
- Stopping seeing friends and family – emotionally withdrawing from others
- Handing over all their benefits and money to someone they owe money to
- Handing over personal items (bank card, passport, jewellery) to someone they owe money to
- Receiving threatening text messages about money being owed
- Being forced into having sex or committing crimes to pay off their debts
- Being anxious, depressed, withdrawn and experiencing suicidal thoughts
- Showing signs of physical violence, such as bruises, sprains or cuts
- Not wanting to leave their house and shutting curtains to avoid being noticed
If you’re worried a friend or loved one is involved with a loan shark, letting the person know you are concerned about them might help them take the first step and access support. They might not be ready to talk but any information you can get from them could help start an investigation into the loan shark.
What do I do if someone has told me about the loan shark?
If someone confides in you that they are involved with a loan shark, it’s important you don’t blame but show empathy to their situation.
It can be harrowing to listen to someone you care about disclosing they are suffering at the hands of a loan shark. We are here to help you – you don’t have to give your details (or your friends/family members) we can just talk you through their options, and the ways you can help.
You can check the FCA register to see if the lender is authorised or send us a message on Live Chat and we’ll check for you.
- Listen carefully and take care not to blame them
- Acknowledge they’re in a scary and difficult situation but there is a way out
- Give them time to talk and try not to interrupt them
- Remind them they are worthy of help and they don’t have to go through it alone
- Tell them nobody deserves to be threatened or treated this way, the loan shark has no legal right to recover the debt
- Tell them there are others who have been in a similar situation but got help
- Ask if they have suffered physical harm – if so, offer to go with them to a hospital or GP
- Help them report the loan shark to our team if they choose to
- Be ready to provide information on organisations that offer help
What should I do next?
If you are worried about someone you know, you can call our 24-hour helpline on 0300 555 2222 for confidential advice and support. We’ll check the lender out, talk to you about your concerns and let you know what steps you can take to help the person.
We know people are often ashamed or worried about what will happen to them if they report a loan shark. It’s important to remember that bad things happen when people don’t report loan sharks. You have done the right thing coming forward.
Stop Loan Sharks Live Chat is a discreet way to access support if you’re not ready or able to make a call. Click on the chat icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen to talk online with our team. We’re online 9am to 5pm weekdays (excluding bank holidays) or call us anytime on 0300 555 2222.