Advice Column: Loan Sharks

Thursday 19th October 2017

As part of the Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo weekly advice column we focus on the dangers of borrowing from Loan Sharks.

My friend told me about someone she knew that could help me out with a loan. Although I’ve been making regular repayments, my loan just seems to be increasing and I have no paperwork to prove the amount I borrowed initially. The person who I borrowed from has now started sending threatening messages. What can I do?

To be able to lend money legally, lenders have to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Those who do not hold the correct license are operating illegally and are commonly known as ‘loan sharks’.

You can find out whether a money lender is authorised by checking the register on the FCA website and searching by company, person, product, reference number or postcode.

Loan sharks often charge astronomical rates of interest and don’t issue paperwork to confirm the arrangements that they have made with you. These criminals usually appear friendly at first but quickly trap their borrowers into spiralling debt. As the debts can’t legally be enforced, many lenders will resort to the most extreme and callous methods to enforce repayment including threats, violence and intimidation.

In some cases, loan sharks have been known to take items as security including passports, driving licenses or even bank or post office cards with the PIN in order to withdraw money directly from the borrowers’ accounts.

If you feel like you’ve been a victim of a loan shark, you can speak to the Illegal Money Lending Team in confidence on 0300 555 2222. You can also report Loan Sharks online at:

Look out for our column next week when we focus on student housing

The information contained in these articles does not constitute advice. Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo accept no liability for the information published. Citizens Advice Exeter is unable to respond to individual requests for advice through these columns. Copyright Citizens Advice. For the most up-to-date version, please visit the Citizens Advice website at