An estimated 310,000 families in the UK use illegal money lenders or loan sharks.
People who borrow from loan sharks end up paying very high rates of interest.
To lend money lawfully you have to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
People who lend money without being FCA authorised are breaking the law. They are known as loan sharks.
Loan sharks often work from home, charge very high rates of interest and don't give you much paperwork to confirm the arrangements they have made with you.
Loan sharks often take other illegal action to collect the money they have lent you, such as threatening violence or taking away your credit cards or valuables.
If a loan shark threatens you or acts in a violent way, contact the police straight away.
There are many online services available to help and provide information including: