Keeping safe from loan sharks What is a loan shark or illegal money lender Illegal money lenders are also known as loan sharks. Loan sharks are people who lend money without permission and are criminals. Loan sharks can appear very friendly and helpful at first if you are having problems with your money. This is because they want to get you into debt. If you cannot pay what you owe loan sharks will often threaten you with violence to make you give them money. How to know if you’ve met a loan shark The Illegal Money Lending Team have the following 4 questions to help you know if you have met a loan shark. Question 1. Has someone lent you money at your door and are charging you a lot of interest? Question 2. Have you been threatened when you couldn’t pay? Question 3. Has someone taken your bankcard to look after until you have paid what you owe? Question 4. Does the money you owe keep getting bigger even though you are making payments? What to do if you have met a loan shark. If you have answered yes to any of the questions you have been targeted by a loan shark. You can call the Illegal Money Lending Team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on 0300 555 2222 to make a report. Talk to your local PCSO if you are worried or suspicious. Phone 999 if you have been threatened or feel scared. With thanks to Dawn from the Crownhill Comms Room and Plymouth People First who worked with Devon and Cornwall Police to produce this information.