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Loan sharks

What is a loan shark?

Loan sharks are illegal money lenders who often charge very high interest rates. You can check if a company is authorised to lend money and report loan sharks anonymously.

If you can answer yes to one or more of these questions you might be borrowing from a loan shark:

  • Did they offer you a cash loan?
  • Did they not give you paperwork?
  • Did they add huge amounts of interest or APR to your loan?
  • Have they threatened you?
  • Are you scared of people finding out?
  • Have they taken your bank card, benefit card, passport, watch or other valuables from you?

Check if a lender is registered

A new search tool from Loan Smart helps consumers avoid loan sharks. Loan Smart is a new charity formed to help tackle illegal money lending. They have recently launched a new website, enabling consumers to check whether their lender is fully authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The site also offers consumers practical advice what to do next if they suspect someone is lending money illegally or where they can get proper help advice.

Think Loan Smart, not Loan Shark

The Loan Smart website draws upon the FCA’s registration data to identify fully authorised consumer credit firms. This will help consumers avoid falling into the clutches of illegal loan sharks, complementing the important work already being undertaken by the Illegal Money Lending Teams.

You can search the Financial Services Register for companies and individuals authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Financial Conduct Authority
Telephone: 0800 111 6768
Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm
Saturday 9am to 1pm
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