Help Dealing With Loan Sharks

The Scottish Illegal Money Lending team are here to help you. We are the only government agency in Scotland who have the power to investigate and prosecute loan sharks and illegal money lenders.

You are not in trouble if you have borrowed cash or have been paying back a loan from an illegal money lender – the loan shark is. They are the people committing a crime, not you.

By looking at this website you have taken the first step to getting your life back and managing your money and debts. We will keep you safe while we investigate the loan shark.

If you have borrowed money from a loan shark, we can offer you:

  • Immediate support with any urgent issues
  • Longer term support to assist you in moving away from using loan sharks
  • Help to access local services, including debt advice services, credit unions, addiction counselling and local support groups.

We have access to a wide range of services that are there for your protection, depending on your circumstances, and we work with organisations all over Scotland that can help you move away from using illegal money lenders.

What Will Happen if I Report a Loan Shark?

You can report a suspected loan shark or illegal money lender to us in full confidence and completely anonymously. After you have reported a loan shark to us, we will phone you at a suitable time if you want us to and talk to you about what has happened. Don’t worry if you’re mistaken.

If you are willing, our investigators will talk to you about the money you have borrowed, how you repay it, and take further information about the loan shark/illegal money lender. This can become a witness statement that we will ask you to sign. But you can also give this information to us anonymously and in complete confidence.

How do I report a loan shark?

You can call our team 24 hours a day on 0800 074 0878 to report a potential loan shark. We take every call seriously and in 100% confidence. You can also use our secure online reporting form to report illegal money lenders.

You can also contact us for advice if you are worried that somebody you are in contact with through work or that you know socially may have borrowed money from a loan shark. Those who borrow from loan sharks are often in a vulnerable position and may be at a crisis point in their life due to financial hardship.

Where Can I Find Help in a Crisis?

If you are in desperate need of money, the following agencies can offer support.
Remember that you can call our helpline on 0800 074 0878 24 hours a day for advice and support.

  • The Scottish Welfare Fund helps families and people in Scotland who are on low incomes by making Crisis Grants and Community Care Grants available to those in immediate need. The Scottish Government have added an extra £45 million to the Welfare Fund, which will be administered by local authorities.
  • StepChange Debt Charity
    have information and advice for those worried about debt and the Coronavirus.
  • The Money Advice Service has a guide to support that might be available to you and changes to the benefits system.
  • Citizens Advice Scotland have information about accessing food banks and other emergency help in your local area.
  • The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have advice on avoiding loan fee scams and a register of authorised lenders. The FCA have also introduced a package of temporary measures to help people with overdrafts, credit cards and loans
  • Renfrewshire Affordable Credit Alliance (RACA) is a unique alliance made up of a variety of organisations and is the only alliance in Scotland promoting the use of credit unions and community developed finance initiatives (CDFI) and we have come together to champion fair and honest finance for all. RACA aims to ensure everyone, no matter their income level, has better options available to them that helps to reduce the risk falling into problem debt. Please visit for more information.

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Seeking Help On Behalf of Family Members, Friends or Clients

If you’re worried that a friend or family member might have borrowed money from a loan shark and is struggling to pay it back, you can reach out for help confidentially on their behalf. They will not be in any legal trouble for borrowing the money.

We can offer confidential support to those who have borrowed money as well as their friends or family members who may be affected.


If your job involves working with vulnerable people or the general public, you may come across clients who have fallen victim to a loan shark. They may be frightened and feel trapped by their situation.

You can reach out to us professionally and confidentially to ask for advice on their behalf.