Dear Santa, All I Want For Christmas Is … Safe And Affordable Borrowing

Hoot, like many credit unions works with the National Illegal Money Lending Team in raising awareness of the dangers of loan sharks and illegal money lenders.

Research carried out by the IMLT has found that Christmas is the second highest reason that people borrow money from loan sharks. This year, there are likely to be more families impacted financially and emotionally, and illegal lenders will take advantage of those in difficult situations. Christmas is meant to be the most wonderful time of year – but for many families trapped in spiraling debt and misery by loan sharks that simply isn’t the case. We want to stop this exploitation of vulnerable people.

How do we spot a loan shark?

Loan sharks rarely give paperwork, exorbitant extra amounts and interest payments are usually added at random, and items including passports, bank cards and driving licences are taken as security on the loans.

As the debts often cannot legally be enforced in many cases the loan sharks will resort to threats, violence and other bully tactics to extort money from people.

Protect yourself and your loved ones from loan sharks this Christmas

If you need to borrow money, check the lender is reputable and authorised. You can do this by checking the FCA register at 

Take a look at the bottom of this page and you will see a statement telling you that Hoot is authorised and regulated. You can check this on the register.

Never borrow from an individual or company that cannot be found on the register.

Be wary of people you don’t know sending you messages through your social media accounts. Loan sharks might offer you a quick deal, but they will soon trap you in a spiral of debt with extortionate rates of interest. Loan sharks have been known to use online platforms to find, threaten and control people in debt.

Think you may be caught in a illegal money lender trap?

Anyone with concerns about illegal money lending can contact the Stop Loan Sharks 24/7 Helpline in confidence on 0300 555 2222. You can also find support online at

Every time a loan shark is caught a Christmas fairy gets its wings.

Don’t get bitten by a loan shark this Christmas.

18 Nov 2021

Author: David Batten, CEO
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