Shop smart, not shark, this Christmas

Castles and Coasts Housing Association (CCHA) is joining the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) in urging residents to shop smart, not shark, this Christmas.

The festive season and build up can be a very expensive time and knowing where to go for the right help can be tricky. Loan sharks can pose as your friend and draw you in with a loan, no questions asked.

Victoria Chilvers, Income Team Leader at CCHA, said: “We know that Christmas can be a very challenging time and people may find they have to borrow money to keep up with gifts, parties and food. Knowing what to look out for might help residents avoid loan sharks."


How do you know if you’ve fallen victim to a loan shark?

If you can answer yes to one or more of these questions you might be borrowing from one:

  • Did they offer you a cash loan?
  • Did they not give you paperwork?
  • Did they add huge amounts of interest to your loan?
  • Have they threatened you?
  • Are you scared of people finding out?
  • Have they taken your bank card, benefit card, passport, watch or other valuables from you as ‘security’?

Victoria continued: “If you think you might have fallen victim to a loan shark at any time, it’s really important to report it straight away to the Stop Loan Sharks team.

“If you’re a CCHA resident, please let us know too. It’s absolutely nothing to feel ashamed of and we don’t want you to worry in silence. Our Income Team and Financial Inclusion Service are here to help and support you through any difficulty you might be facing.”


Where to go for information and support

  • There are lots of ways you can report a loan shark safely and in confidence at or by calling them on 0300 555 2222. Specially trained staff will provide you with emotional and practical support, and the loan shark won’t know they’re being investigated.
  • You can check your lender is authorised with a quick check on the Financial Conduct Authority website before borrowing any money. 
  • CCHA residents should also call our Income Team on 0800 085 1171 for advice and support.