Hi folks, it’s Dave from “Save with Dave”. Today, I am going to teach you how to kill a shark in five easy steps! Did you think I meant a real shark? Well, these types of sharks are almost as dangerous as real sharks, as they can also harm you for life. The sharks I am talking about are loan sharks.
When someone cannot get a loan from a legal company, they may get desperate and turn to illegal lenders for help. These illegal lenders are called loan sharks. Loan sharks often target low income and desperate families. Even though they might seem friendly at the beginning, borrowing from a loan shark does not normally end well. Even if you have bad credit, or you only need a small amount of money for a small amount of time, don’t ever use a loan shark. There are other alternatives to payday loans that you can use.
Where do these loan sharks lurk? Well, you won’t find these sharks at the beach – that’s for sure. In fact, you need to beware of these sharks in the place you likely spend the most time: The Internet!
We already know that the Internet can be a dangerous place. Perhaps you have installed a program that tries to help you defend yourself. The problem is, loan sharks don’t often show their sharp teeth on their online platform. You may think that you have clicked on a normal instant cash loans site, when in fact, the people on the other side of the screen are the last people you want to be dealing with! Sound scary? I know.
Dave fights loan sharks and explains how to identify a good lender
Last night, my grandma asked me “How many teeth does a loan-shark have? Probably far more than me!” Well that got me thinking… What do loan sharks look like? How can we identify a loan shark before our private information – and money – gets eaten alive?
Let me give you some golden rules that will keep you out of trouble. When applying for a loan online you are going to want to follow this “Safe with Dave checklist:”
Look for FULL contact details. If you can’t find the full contact details of the lender instantly (phone, email and address), it is a big warning sign. After all, legit companies want their clients to contact them. Many sharks may hide their contact details in the legal policies or in other pages that no one ever reads.
Search for the FCA authorisation number. If there is no clickable FCA authorisation number to validate the company and the website, be careful. Many illegitimate companies may put the number in small white fonts or as a picture. In these cases, Dave says: If you can’t click it, leave it. If you want to see an example of a proper FCA authorisation number, scroll down to the footer of this page and click on the FCA Authorisation number. You will see that it will direct you to the FCA website where you will see our full authorisation details.
Are you dealing with a broker or a direct lender? If the company is not proudly announcing if they are a broker or direct lender, they are probably a broker that you don’t want to be working with. Make sure you can tell if the website is a broker or a direct lender. There is a big difference.
Avoid Cold calls and spam! No reputable lender or broker will cold-call you with an amazing loan offer. If you get an unsolicited email or call, just say Thank you and hang up the phone. That is, if you are feeling polite – they are sharks after all.
Here is a shark sign to look out for. If the website does not have HTTPS (the secure connection) on the URL bar of their browser, or if someone is using complicated language to make things less straightforward, or if you can’t clearly understand the product you are about to purchase (a loan), it is probably a shark. Stay away!
Loan sharks in the UK are illegal. They are not regulated by the FCA and therefore aren’t authorised to lend. In addition, Loan sharks will often take illegal action to get hold of the money they have lent you. This can range from taking your personal possessions, vandalism or even threatening violence. We have even made a super cool infographic about fighting loan sharks, just for you! If you need more help with spotting or fighting loan sharks, feel free to contact us!
Thank you for saving with Dave!
If you are the victim of a loan shark in the UK, you should seek help immediately. Getting the right help will ensure that you are physically and financially safe, as well as ensuring that end end is put to the illegal lending activities of the loan shark. By clicking on the links below, you will find help for various cities in the UK. Stop loan sharks today!
The Birmingham city council offer help and guidance to loan shark victims in Birmingham. If you’ve been threatened when you couldn’t pay, had your bank card taken as ‘security’ or have debt which keeps growing even as you are repaying, they can help. You can also download a super interesting newsletter with real loan shark stories on their site.
The city of Bradford Metropolitan District Council offer practical advice on how to avoid unnecessary loans. They have a list of useful advice centres for money management and debt. Contact whichever one better suits your circumstance.
The Bristol city council present various different helplines for residents who are struggling with debt problems. Here you will find information for organisations that can help prevent money problems, in addition to organisations that can help you deal with debt.
The Doncaster Trading Standards work with the Illegal Money Lending Team to investigate illegal money lenders. These loan sharks prey on the most vulnerable people in the Doncaster community, and the Illegal Money Lending Team have a team of highly trained investigators to track these lenders down. Find out how to contact the right parties by following this link.
The Leeds directory aim to assist and support residents to live independent and better lives. They provide a confidential help and advice line for people under threat and struggling to repay debt to illegal money lenders. They also offer finance and legal services and independent financial advice.
A long-standing organisation since 1965, The Liverpool Housing Trust are committed to providing housing for residents. Here, they also offer information to help you stay safe from loan sharks in Liverpool, and to determine if you need to seek help from your lender.
Although based in London, the Citizens Advice offers help to citizens of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Here they provide contact details of helplines when dealing with a loan shark, as well as many other links to further money advice services.
This site from the Greater Manchester Police guides you in taking the correct steps when involved in any crime. Here you will also find some interesting statistics for loan sharks in the UK. Did you know that 20% of loan shark victims were a result of Christmas expenses? For more information on how to report a loan shark in Manchester, follow the link.
This government website is the address for almost any queries you many have. The website is updated regularly so you can trust that all the information is accurate. Here they offer contact details if you are the victim of, or know of a loan shark in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Loan sharks are illegal. When applying for a payday loan, you may find some websites which are not legit. Loan sharks generally operate on the web. Keep away from those. Make it your business to research a short term loan company before you use them to make sure they are FCA regulated. If you suspect a company of being illegal then you should follow the protocol of where you live. Loan sharks can sometimes take illegal action. Call the police if you think you are being threatened by loan sharks.