Loan sharks are illegal money lenders. They may appear friendly at first but can use intimidation and violence if payments are not made. They may be a friend of a friend or someone you know in the community.

The best advice for dealing with loan sharks is don't.

They often charge very high interest rates and sometimes use threats and violence to frighten people who can not pay back their loan.

Loans made by loan sharks often come with little paperwork, which makes it difficult to work out how much you owe, what interest rate you are being charged and when you are likely to pay the debt off.

If you have borrowed from a loan shark you have not committed a crime, however the loan shark has. Any lender who harasses you is breaking the law. You should report any loan shark to the Illegal Money Lending team and contact the police if you are in immediate danger.

My Money Week 2017
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) are taking part in My Money Week 2017 to increase children's knowledge and understanding of handling money and avoiding problematic debt.

Between 12 - 18 June, primary and secondary school teachers will be encouraged to use the IMLT's financial education packs in the classroom to teach pupils about managing their money and the differences between 'needs' and 'wants'.

The free financial education packs, which can be taught in many areas of the curriculum, will help to spread understanding of financial education in the wider community with children taking the messages home to their parents.

Understanding where money comes from, budgeting, safe borrowing and other aspects of financial education is an initial step in preventing young people from turning to loan sharks in later life. The IMLT worked with teachers to design the series of PFEG (Personal Financial Education Group) quality marked resources.

The financial education packs have been written by teachers and designed for different age groups; primary school pupils (5-11 years) and secondary school students (11-19 years). Both packs address not using loan sharks and are available to download from

The 'Lessons about keeping money safe' education pack, aimed at pupils 5-11 years, will help to build children's knowledge and understanding of handling money, making choices and paying for things we need and want. Children can carry many of the messages home with them and encourage parents, who may already be in difficulties, to seek help and prevent them getting into difficulties in the first place. This primary school pack also features an educational cartoon video about a penguin that borrows from a shark.

The 'Lessons in safer borrowing and lending' education pack, aimed at students aged 11-19 years, consists of activities which are based on real scenarios. Students will explore a range of issues; deciding how to spend our money, safer lending and borrowing and thinking about how to manage and fund our lifestyles. The activities in this education pack are structured in a manner that will enable students to consider and develop their own attitudes to money.

To report a loan shark

For help and advice, contact the Illegal Money Lending Team.

For confidential help and advice, contact the Illegal Money Lending Team.

Telephone: 0300 555 22 22
(local call rate, including inclusive minutes from mobiles)

Text 'loan shark' + your message to 07860 022 116

Report a loan shark online at