Don’t become the victim of a loan shark

Anyone can be a victim of a loan shark – you, your family, friends, colleagues, neighbours and even you.

If you’re worried about a situation you have got yourself into, or that someone you know is involved with a loan shark, help is at hand through the Stop Loan Sharks website and helpline

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.

Stop Loan Sharks is here to help you – you don’t have to give your details (or your friends/family members) the team will talk you through their options, and the ways you can help.

What should I do next?

If you are worried about someone you know, you can call Stop Loan Sharks’ 24-hour helpline on 0300 555 2222 for confidential advice and support.

They will check the lender out, talk to you about your concerns and let you know what steps you can take to help the person.

People are often ashamed or worried about what will happen to them if they report a loan shark but it’s important to remember that bad things happen when people don’t report loan sharks.

You will 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.

This is available through the website – We can Help – Stop Loan Sharks – and enables you to talk online with the team which is online 9am to 5pm weekdays (excluding bank holidays). Or you can call anytime on 0300 555 2222.

Stronger North Stonehouse is considering organising some Stop Loan Sharks awareness sessions for professionals who work with people at risk of becoming the victims of loan sharks.

If you would be interested in attending such a training session please email hello@strongernorthstonehouse.co.uk and let us know.

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
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