Skip to content
An image of sharks in water surrounding a boat of money

Can You Spot an Illegal Money Lender?

More than 300,000 people in the UK are in debt to illegal money lenders. Here's how you can ensure you don't suffer the same fate.

When debts are piling up and you need money fast, you’ll often do anything to ensure you fix this – especially if you have a loved one or children depending on you. However, in your haste to do what is ultimately right, you should make sure the company is legitimate – otherwise, you could find yourself in debt to an illegal money lender.

More than 300,000 people are in debt to loan sharks

According to a government statement, more than 300,000 people are in debt to illegal money lenders in the UK. Criminals who prey on the vulnerable, loan sharks generally start off appearing friendly but will then charge extortionate interest rates so customers are trapped in persistent debt.

According to the Money Advice Service, some loan sharks have even charged interest rates as high as 719,000%. Fail to keep up with repayments and these people will often do what criminals usually do – make threats or attack.

How do I identify a loan shark?

Whether operating out of an office or through a website, spotting a loan shark is easier said than done. On the surface, they might appear to be respectable business but there are a few things which set them apart from other companies:

  • If you apply for a loan, these individuals will offer no – or barely any – paperwork;
  • They will refuse to answer certain questions, such as how much interest the loan comes with;
  • A loan shark may randomly add additional charges or increase the amount you owe;
  • If a payment is missed, these individuals will probably resort to intimidation or violence.

Once you owe money to a loan shark, it’s common for these people to state that reporting them would be counterproductive. They argue you may face prison for unpaid debts, but this isn’t true. A lender who isn’t properly authorised has no legal right to recover funds. In fact, because the loan itself is illegal, a loan shark cannot legally force you to repay it.

Therefore, if you know a loan shark, report them to police.

Is Consolidation Express legitimate?

Consolidation Express is a legitimate company but – of course – the same claim might be made by someone trying to scam your details. You can tell we’re the real deal because we’re regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and you can find us on the Financial Services Register (number 784206).

A loan shark just after your money would not be found there.

An advisor holding a shield with a closed padlock.

Consolidation Express – safe and simple lending

Apply for a debt consolidation loan through us and you could have the funds you need within just a couple of hours. No nasty surprises, no unexpected interest hikes, just a safe and legitimate service.

To find out how we can help you, click the button below:

Get My Loan
An advisor pointing to a screen displaying Rep APR.

APRs from 5.8% to 89.9%

We are a broker, not a lender.

Unsecured Loan Representative 69.9% APR

Borrowing £7,500 over 36 months, repaying £502 per month, total repayable £18,083. Total cost of credit £10,583. Interest rate 69.9% (variable). The lenders on our panel offer loans for 12-60 months, with rates from 5.8% APR to 89.9% APR. The Representative Example is based on all loans paid out by lenders between 19th Apr 2022 and 23rd Dec 2022.

Secured Representative 11.7% APR

If you choose to add fees to the loan: Assumed borrowing of £25,000 over 120 months, plus a broker fee of £2,500 and a lender fee of £250 would result in monthly repayments of £345.55, the borrowing rate is 8.6% (variable), the APRC is 11.7% (variable), total charge for credit £16,466.00 and the total amount payable £41,466.00. You can opt to pay the lender and/or broker fees upfront, your adviser will discuss these options with you.

Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or any debt secured on it. All rates vary subject to loan amount, loan type and status. Repaying your debt over a longer period of time may increase the amount you pay.

Latest posts

A woman reaching out to an advisor for help.
Money and a calendar with missed payments.
A shield protecting a computer, and a magnifying glass.