Don’t get bitten by loan sharks!

Date published: 10th October 2017

To lend money lawfully you have to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). People who lend money without being FCA authorised are breaking the law. They are known as loan sharks.

Loan sharks often work from home, charge very high rates of interest and don’t give you much paperwork to confirm the arrangements they have made with you.

Loan sharks often take other illegal action to collect the money they have lent you, such as threatening violence or taking away your credit cards or valuables. In extreme cases, they have been known to force non-payers into prostitution and drug dealing.

If a loan shark threatens you or acts in a violent way, contact the police straight away.

If you borrowed money from someone who isn’t FCA authorised, you haven’t broken the law, they have.


You can check if a company or individual is authorised to lend money by searching the Financial Services Register or using the details below:

Telephone: 0800 111 6768
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Saturday, 9am to 1pm
Find out about call charges


If you spot a loan shark or you’ve borrowed money from one you can report them anonymously:

Illegal Money Lending Team
Report a loan shark online
Telephone: 0300 555 2222
24-hour service
Text a report to 07860 022 116
Find out about call charges