Using Loan Sharks Comes at a Heavy Cost

Date Released - 30/08/2023

ILLEGAL money lenders, also known as loan sharks, prey on vulnerable people, trapping them in a spiral of debt.

Loan sharks come in many disguises including on social media platforms. These criminals usually appear friendly at first but quickly trap their borrowers into spiralling debt and it is very difficult to escape once you are in their grasp.

Loan sharks charge extortionate interest rates on loans and as the debts cannot be legally enforced, many then resort to intimidation and threats if payments are not made.

Sharks typically refuse to tell borrowers how much they owe, how long repayments will last, or the loan’s APR (annual percentage rate). Often they do not issue paperwork for the loan, and being even one day late in making a repayment can result in a huge penalty.

Yet despite the dangers, which are well documented, it is estimated more than 300,000 households nationally are borrowing from illegal money lenders.

Fortunately, there is plenty of help available if you need money or if you take cash from an illegal lender.

Credit unions, such as Cash Box in Tameside, offer secure savings and loans at affordable rates of interest. Visit their website or give them a call on 0161 342 3266 (11am to 1pm – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday).

If you have debt and need support, contact Citizens Advice Tameside on 0808 278 7805 (Monday to Friday 9am to 1pm) or visit their website

To report a loan shark in confidence, ring 0300 555 2222 or go to

Assistance for Tameside residents suffering financial difficulties is available through the council’s Helping Hand campaign, which can help residents find local support services, providing financial, wellbeing, and benefit support in Tameside.

For more information, visit, reception at Tameside One, Ashton, or any library during staffed hours.

Cllr Eleanor Wills, Tameside Council’s executive member for population health and wellbeing, said: “Loan sharks cause great harm to our communities so it is vital we break the wall of silence which allows them to operate and spread misery.

“If you owe money to an illegal lender, I strongly urge you to report them by calling the Stop Loan Sharks 24-hour confidential helpline 0300 555 2222 or visit Help is available if you have been a victim of illegal money lending or you have concerns about a friend or relative.

“There are safe and legal alternatives to using illegal money lenders. You can get help and support from Citizens Advice and the local credit union.”