How To Avoid Loan Sharks

- by Sarah Connelly

Over 1 million people in the UK are in debt to loans sharks. In this article Cashfloat explores how to avoid loan sharks and what to do if you have become a loan shark target.

How to spot a loan shark - Cashfloat

What 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. For example, they may offer loans for unemployed people without checking that they have a way to pay their loan back. 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 short amount of time, don’t ever use a loan shark. There are other alternatives to payday loans that you can use.

Where can you find loan sharks

Where do these loan sharks lurk? Well, you won’t find these sharks at the beach – that’s for sure. Loan sharks are not authorised lenders on the internet. 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!.

5 Things you Must Know to Avoid Loan Sharks

Protect yourself from loan sharks - cashfloatLook 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.

Protect yourself from loan sharks - cashfloatSearch 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, 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.

Protect yourself from loan sharks - cashfloatAre 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.

Protect yourself from loan sharks- cashfloatAvoid 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.

Protect yourself from loan sharks- cashfloatHere 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!

Is loan sharking illegal?

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. Click here for our infographic on how to spot a loan shark.

How to stop loan shark harassment

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!


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.

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About The Author
Sarah Connelly
Sarah is an enthusiastic writer, blogger and an eager agent of change. After completing her degree in Computer Science in one of London’s esteemed universities, Sarah’s early career in programming left her creatively frustrated. Looked for a way to combine her creative and analytical side, Sarah’s search led her to Digital Marketing and now she writes content and code for Cashfloat. Sarah enjoys spreading awareness about common financial issues and the importance of money management. With her STEM background, Sarah believes strongly in ethical business management and consumer protection. in her free time, Sarah enjoys reading, watching movies and eating out. After all, #YOLO!
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