It’s said that illegal money lending is one of the most under reported crimes throughout Northern Ireland, and it’s on the increase.
We’ve heard the term ‘loan shark’ but what exactly is a loan shark, and how can you be sure that you’re doing business with a reputable and legitimate lender?
What is a loan shark?
A money lender must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to lend money legally, and those who aren’t authorised by the FCA are breaking the law.
FCA regulation or authorisation means that a consumer can trust the firm. It ensures that the lender treats all consumers in compliance with strict criteria.
Illegal money lenders won’t provide sufficient paperwork to confirm the arrangements they’ve made with you, therefore if you miss a payment, they are often known to take illegal action to collect their money.
Their debt recovery methods include threatening violence or taking away your valuables. In extreme cases, they’ve been known to force non-payers into prostitution and drug dealing.
What can I do to protect myself from illegal money lenders?
If someone offers to lend you money, it’s a good idea to ask for their lender’s authorisation. If they don’t have one, they are operating illegally, and you should avoid borrowing from them.
You can stay safe by checking if a lender is authorised via the FCA website: www.fca.org.uk
“If someone who has lent you money threatens you or is violent, contact the police straight away. Do this even if it’s an informal loan from someone you know, such as a friend or family member.”
In Northern Ireland you can also contact the Trading Standards Consumerline, telephone 0300 123 6262. The advisers can give you advice about your situation. The information you provide helps them to take action to stop illegal money lending.
About Firth Finance
Fully authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, you can be sure that all transactions and communications with us are legitimate and legal.
For over 50 years our team has worked across the province to offer our competitive home credit loans. Today, we are the financial provider of choice for our many happy customers throughout Northern Ireland.