Lets talk loan sharks

“I really wish someone had asked me sooner if I owed money to a loan shark and if the person I was borrowing from was really my mate. It would have saved me thousands of pounds, my mental health and my marriage.”

“The person I spoke to didn’t ask so I thought they couldn’t help with that debt. I wish they had. It would have saved me months of heartache and stress.”

report published by the Centre for Social Justice estimated that 1.08 million people in England are currently using loan sharks. That is 2% of the population, so that could mean at least 2% of the people you work to support. Loan shark victims are often in contact with multiple agencies but do not reveal their situation. When the Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) ask them why, the reply is quite simply “because they didn’t ask me”.
Stop Loan Sharks Week 2022 runs from 26 September to 02 October and the hashtag this year is #LetsTalkLoanSharks. The IMLT is asking partner organisations to ask as many people as possible a loan shark question.

The usual question might be: Do you owe money to a loan shark?

However, more than two thirds of people believe they borrowed from a friend at the point at which they took out the loan. So, it may be better to ask:

• Have you borrowed money from a friend?
• Does that friend lend lots of people money?
• Are you paying back more than you borrowed?
• What happens if you don’t pay your ‘friend’ back on time?

Three ‘yes’ answers, and a concern over consequences of non-payment, may indicate this person may be the victim of a loan shark.

Conversations can take many different directions. The following questions may also be useful:

• Are you scared of anyone you owe money to?
• Is the person you borrowed from authorised to lend money?
• Is anyone helping you pay your bills? Are you paying them back more than what you borrowed?
• Have they intimidated, harassed or threatened you?
Different questions may also be useful in different sectors. For instance:
• Police “Why did you shoplift?” “Why did they assault you?”
• Credit sector “Why do you need a loan?”, “Why can’t you pay?”
• Housing “Where did the money come from to pay off your arrears?”, “What’s preventing you from paying your rent?”

If you think someone has borrowed from a loan shark, then IMLT suggest saying the following:

• “We think the person you have borrowed from might be acting illegally. You have done nothing wrong. We’d like to help you get in touch with an organisation who supports people in your situation so they can talk you through your options. Is that OK?”

You can then:

• Arrange an appointment for the potential victim to be at your offices and we will come and meet them (we can do this without knowing their details if required)

• Call your local LIAISE officer and pass the phone over to the victim (“We know Emma who works at Stop Loan Sharks, we can give her a call so you can get some advice”)

• Call our Helpline on 0300 555 2222 and pass the phone over to the person you’re supporting

• For those that prefer to type as opposed to talk then help them access Live Chat via our website www.stoploansharks.co.uk (this service is available between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday).

• Arrange a follow up appointment to discuss their situation in more detail.

We would ask that you only give the person a leaflet or card as a last resort, as in our experience they are highly unlikely to call if they are not supported to do so.

For more information please contact your local LIAISE officer or email us at partner@stoploansharks.gov.uk.

How to save on your energy bills

Here are some tips that you can implement around your home and car to help in keeping the costs down.

1. Switch off appliances if you are aren’t using them.

Many appliances still use electricity, even when they’re on standby. Turning them off at the plug when they’re not in use will help you save.

2. Turn off the light when you leave a room

If you aren’t using a room, switch off the light to save energy and money.

Still on this, swap an old bulb for an LED bulb. You could save up to £40 a year per bulb.

3. Close your curtains at night

Prevent heat escaping through your windows by keeping your curtains closed at night.

4. Spot-clean marks on your clothes

If an outfit is clean on and you get a mark on it, see if you can sponge it out with a damp cloth rather than putting it straight in the wash.

5. Around the house

You can buy a draught excluder and fit in the front door.

Insulate your loft and save up to £180.

Wrap your water tank in a thermal jacket.

6. Keep driving costs down

By driving slower and changing to a higher gear sooner can save fuel costs and you will also be safer on the roads.

Struggling with paying energy bills?

If you are struggling to afford your energy bills or top up your prepayment meter, you can get help. The Citizens Advice website shares more information on grants and benefits that can help you pay your energy bills.

They cover topics including:

  • Getting a £400 energy discount from the government
  • Energy scam alerts
  • Warm Home Discount Scheme
  • Check if you can get a fuel voucher
  • Winter Fuel Payment
  • Cold Weather Payments
  • Grants to help pay off your energy debts

What to do if you are struggling with living costs or finding things difficult.

Get all the above details plus more on the Citizens Bureau website.


Bank holiday to commemorate Her Majesty The Queen’s State Funeral

Our heartfelt condolences to The Royal Family. Rest in peace, Your Majesty The Queen. Thank you for your dedication and generosity to many of us. You will live on on our hearts.

We will be closed on Monday, September 19, for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s State Funeral, which will allow our team and their families to pay their respects.

Any request for a withdrawal or loan will be processed from Tuesday, 20 September when we re-open. In the meantime, members will still be able to access their account via the Members Area of our website.

Thank you for your understanding.