From the ‘IMLT 2022 Support Report’ that has been put together by The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), household bills continues to be the main reason for borrowing (this has always been the case).

In the same report, 79% owed money to other lenders besides the loan shark, of which 39% were priority creditors.Average total debt excluding the loan shark was £8,624.

Falling prey of loan sharks

  • 24% of clients borrowed £500 or less
  • Median amount borrowed – £500
  • Median amount repaid – £4,500
  • The lowest amount borrowed was £90 for householdfood/bills
  • The highest amount borrowed was £60,000 for medicalexpenses

Just as there is no typical loan shark, there is no typical loan either, apart from it is very rare that a borrower will repay less than double the amount borrowed.

One client borrowed £500 for household bills and has been making payments for three years, they have repaid £18,000 so far and still owe £500!

Another borrowed £300 and had repaid £100,000 in total.

Some of the ways that loan sharks make you pay:

If a borrower can’t pay here are some ways that loan sharks force their victims to pay:

  • Borrower forced to start dealing drugs to pay back the loan
  • The lender threatened to go to borrower’s place of work and tell people about
    them not paying. This is making the victim stressed because they have people
    that work under them and do not want to be disgraced and embarrassed in
    front of colleagues.

If you are in need financial help, reach out to a credit union that provide ethical saving and borrowing products.


Kelly’s story:

“She seemed nice at first, helping me out, but after a whileI got to know the real person. Initially I borrowed £100 for household bills and had to repay £325. Once I’d paid it back I was left short so had to borrow again. This continued until I was repaying £2,000 a month! She was taking all my wages, child benefit and universal credit. I’d be lucky if I was left with £5 for
food for myself and my family.

I eventually spoke to a housing officer about the situation and they asked if they could put me in touch with the Stop Loan Sharks Team. I was nervous but agreed. The Team worked out that I’d borrowed approximately £2,500 in total and repaid over £26,000! The Stop Loan Sharks Team supported me from day one – I now feel like I’ve had the weight of the world lifted from my shoulders. I’ve finally got my lifeback.”

Bee’s story:

“I heard the devastating news that my mother was seriously ill and I had to travel to see her before she passed away. I asked someone I knew if they had any idea where I could borrow some money. She said that her boyfriend could lend me the cash I needed. I visited him and received £3,000.

After my mother’s funeral I returned and started repaying £600 per month back; I hadn’t realised that although I was paying £600 each time, the balance wasn’t decreasing. Occasionally I was a few days late paying. The boyfriend was very scary and said that he would charge me an extra £20 per day as a penalty fee. The couple came and knocked my door every day
demanding payment, over 7 months I paid back more than £4,000.

I was very stressed and didn’t leave my home for over two months; I couldn’t sleep. I sold jewellery that was very precious to me – given to me by my late husband and I still owed £3,000.

I was so glad I called the Loan Shark Team. I’d recommend to anyone in trouble to do so – then you’ll be safe. I feel I’ve got my lifeback.”

Do you know anyone who has fallen victim of a loan shark? Contact the ‘Stop Loan Sharks’ team by calling 0300 555 2222 or visit our website: for help and advice.

Related articles:

Beware of loan sharks

Thamesbank Credit Union is biting back against loan sharks