Due to confidentiality, we were not able to record the session we ran on tackling illegal money lending. However the resources that were covered in the session are here.

Would you know how to spot someone who was borrowing from a loan shark? Would you know what to do if they were?

Illegal money lending, also known as loan sharks are more prevalent in our communities than you might think.

In this session, we heard from the Illegal Money Lending Team about how to spot the signs and what we can do as churches to tackle this issue of loan sharks in our communities.

Learning from the session

Some key points:

  • the Illegal Money Lending team exist to raise awareness of loan sharks, and to catch and prosecute anyone lending money illegally
  • if you borrow from a loan shark, you have not broken the law; you are the victim and will be protected. The one who has lent you money is the one who will be prosecuted.
  • you can report loan sharks anonymously - 24 hour hotline 0300 555 2222 or online
  • the Illegal Money lending team have a 100% success rate for prosecutions, and have supported over 31,000 victims of loan sharks in England alone

how to spot the signs

If you are concerned someone you know is borrowing money from a Loan Shark, here are some questions you can ask. Don’t be afraid to probe and ask people if you are concerned- perhaps if someone’s struggling for money or constantly in debt

Questions to ask:

• Are you struggling for money because you’ve borrowed money from a friend?

• Does your friend lend to other people?

• How does your friend collect the money?

• Are you paying any interest?

• Do you have any paperwork?

What more can we do to respond?

1) Raise awareness in your church or community: Leaflets & posters in your buildings; information on website etc. The Illegal Money Lending team can provide literature

2) Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you think someone might be involved with a loan shark; encourage them to report it

3) Invite the Illegal Money Lending team in to speak: at synods, community events and other gatherings. The team also have funding you can apply for if you wish to put on events or organise projects to raise awareness of loan sharks. You can get in touch with them about this here.

You can get in touch with the Illegal Money Lending team here or contact Capital Mass for more London-specific information here.

Resources and links mentioned in this session:

Stop Loan Sharks

The website of the Illegal Money Lending team, full of more information about their work, and resources to share to raise awareness

Find out more

How to Spot a Loan Shark

Great simple animated film explaining the basics

Acts 435

Acts 435 was mentioned as a way of offering emergency funds to anyone who has been a victim of a loan shark. For more information, see the whole session on what Acts 435 can offer

Find out more

REPORT A LOAN SHARK TELEPHONE 0300 555 2222 or text 07860022116