Stop Loan Sharks. Confidential advice and support.

For most of us, Christmas is a joyful time we look forward to.

But it is also an expensive time of year. A time when borrowing money from a ‘friend’ might seem like a good idea, especially if you need extra cash quickly.

According to research by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), one in ten people who borrowed from loan sharks last year did it to pay for Christmas.

So, we think it’s important that we share this information with you now.

The IMLT is a specialist team investigating and prosecuting loan sharks. They also support the victims of loan sharks and know how stressful and frightening the experience can be.

Their safety tips to protect people from loan sharks are:

  • Remember they are not friends, and debts can quickly spiral out of control, however tempting it might seem if you need cash fast.
  • Never send money, give credit card or account details, or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.
  • Check your lender is genuine. Loan sharks operate illegally and without Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) permission. Do your research and check they’re on the Financial Services Register.

Confidential advice and support:

If you’re worried about a friend or family member or need to chat with someone yourself, Stop Loan Sharks offer confidential advice and support. Call the Stop Loan Sharks 24/7 Helpline on 0300 555 2222 or visit, where Live Chat is available 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Remember, there is an alternative to loan sharks—Credit Unions like us.

We are ethical, local, and not-for-profit. We help our members to borrow responsibly, save regularly and keep track of finances. Find out more about us and how to become a member.