An Image of a shark saying "Don't fall prey to loan sharks online"

Beware of Loan Sharks this Christmas

An Image of a shark saying "Don't fall prey to loan sharks online"

GCH (Gloucester City Homes) are proud to support Stop Loan Sharks Week 2020. The theme of the campaign this year, running from 30th November to 6th December, focuses on “Shark Free Surfing”, aiming to deter people from falling prey to unscrupulous lenders online; as statistics show one in five victims met their lender on social media in the first half of 2020.  

According to the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), Loan sharks are increasingly using social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, to advertise their illegal loans and target potential victims. So, it is hoped that I the campaign will help encourage not just victims but the wider community to report online illegal money lending activity.   

How to protect yourself from loan sharks online  

Know who you’re dealing with. If you’ve only ever met someone online or are unsure of the legitimacy of a lender, take some time to do a bit more research. Check the lender is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). If not, don’t borrow from them – report to the Stop Loan Sharks team.  

Beware of loan adverts with no credit checks. Loan sharks have been known to advertise in community groups and on local selling pages. They may seem friendly and accommodating, but their behaviour can quickly change, and you might be harassed or threatened if you get behind with your repayments. Lenders must carry out credit checks to make sure borrowers can afford to pay back their loans. You should never hand over your bank details to strangers, even if they lure you with attractive offers. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.  

Beware of any requests for your details or money. Loan sharks may ask for copies of your passport or pictures of your house, the street and your house number. Never send money or give card details, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.  

If you suspect someone may be a loan shark or they are acting inappropriately, you can report them anonymously to or by calling the Stop Loan Sharks Helpline on 0300 555 2222.  

Alternatively, you can email the team or access support via live chat on the website Monday to Friday between 9am-5pm.