Loan sharks in Gwent due to cost of living crisis – charity


A GROWING number of people may turn to predatory loan sharks out of desperation as the cost of living crisis deepens, a victim support service has warned.

It comes as a charity revealed a Caerphilly couple borrowed £100 from a loan shark and ended up repaying £96,000 to the illegal moneylender after being indebted to them for the next 10 years.

A victim support service has warned that illegal money lending could be on the rise following recent rises in inflation and soaring energy costs.

Add to that the upcoming Christmas season, and people facing increasing financial pressures can leave themselves vulnerable to criminal moneylenders, eager to take advantage of their worried and desperate victims.

Stop Loan Sharks Wales said people often fall for the trap of a loan shark, ‘who may appear friendly and helpful when needed but turn into a threatening presence later on’.

Initial repayments may be followed by demands for higher sums, threats or acts of violence.

The charity said tens of thousands of people could be at risk in Wales.

“In Newport we had a case where a care home supervisor falsely claimed to be a loan company representative,” said Ryan Evans, customer liaison officer at Stop Loan Sharks Wales. “They were responsible for rotations and holding back shifts. employees on zero-hour contacts, threatening victims with even greater fines if they missed a payment.

“We know there are active loan sharks in Newport – the team is currently investigating a suspected loan shark in the area, and a search of the premises has already taken place with money removed from the building.”

Sarah Smith, team manager at Stop Loan Sharks Wales, added: “Everyone we talk to is worried about the cost of living crisis.

“Before, most victims of loan sharks would borrow money due to unforeseen circumstances, such as their fridge-freezer breaking down or their child urgently needing a new school uniform. There has been a change over the past two years where the main reason for borrowing now is to pay for daily necessities like food and household bills.”

On the loan sharks themselves, Ms Smith said: ‘A lot of these illegal moneylenders don’t fit the stereotype. We’ve had cases where the loan shark was over 80, or a supervisor taking advantage of zero-hour contract staff; we even had a loan shark operating in a leadership role in a religious group.

“But the one thing they all have in common is their complete lack of empathy and greed.”

According to Stop Loan Sharks Wales, illegal moneylenders, or loan sharks, often:

  • Appear friendly and helpful at first;
  • Getting people to repay far more than they borrowed;
  • Rarely provide documents;
  • End up taking possessions such as bank cards or a passport for security;
  • Target people in everyday places such as school gates, via WhatsApp or in the pub;
  • Spoil their victims who are often vulnerable people.

Any suspected cases of fraud can be reported to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via


About Author

Comments are closed.