Someone who lends money without a government license and charges interest on repayments is a loan shark. This can take many forms but loan sharks will often:
- Find clients in the pub or by soliciting on group chats, rather than through less informal means
- Present themselves as a friend
- Be unlikely to give you any formal agreement, like a credit agreement or record of payments
- Pay you in cash or by bank transfer
- Add a huge interest or APR to the loan
- Take things like a passport, bank card, or valuable items as security on the loan
- Threaten you
Loan sharks will often start out friendly and become emotionally or physically abusive as time goes on.
The Financial Services Authority maintains a list of regulated money lenders on the FCA website. If a money lender is not on this list, then they are not operating legally.
It is possible to borrow money from a friend or family member on an informal, one off basis, but if you do this it is still not legal for them to do anything illegal to get the money back and you still have a right to feel safe and respected.
If you think you have borrowed money from a loan shark you have not broken the law and there is a good chance you will not have to repay it.
If you have had a problem with a Loan Shark you can speak in confidence to the Illegal Money Lending Hotline at 0300 555 2222 or report it online to the Illegal Money Lending Team
The Illegal Money Lending Team is the government agency with responsibility for investigating illegal money lenders in the UK and since 2004 they have supported over 30,000 people and written off over £83 million worth of illegal debt.
Money lenders are frequently abusive and leave people in financially difficult positions. If you are feeling threatened and would like someone to speak to in the university you can get additional support from the Dignity and Respect Advisors to help tackle bullying and Wellbeing Services to provide emotional support so that you can make the most of your time at Exeter
If you are in need of financial support to help you meet unexpected costs that have arisen during your time in Exeter you can apply to the Success For All Fund. This funding is confidential, and your need will be assessed on your need rather than based on parents’ income.