Sefton Council wants to expose the rogue traders and unmask the false friends this Stop Loan Sharks Week

24 October 2023 3 min read

An astounding 56% of people who contacted it for help in the first half of 2023, thought they were borrowing from a friend when they took out a loan, claims national agency Stop Loan Sharks.

Quickly turn nasty

These false friends make it seem like they are doing you a favour when organising the loan but quickly turn nasty when you challenge them over the amount being repaid or miss a payment, they warn.

This week is Stop Loan Sharks Week and Sefton Council is urging local people to seek help if they are facing financial difficulties rather than taking out unofficial loans from people who may turn out to have a dark and dangerous side.

Unscrupulous and illegal

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said:  “I appreciate that sadly, many local families still struggling to survive the ongoing national cost-of living crisis and will be worrying about heating their homes and putting food on the table this winter.

“Unfortunately, unscrupulous and illegal lenders know that too and they are quite happy to take advantage of people when they are at their most vulnerable. They can be charming and charismatic at first, but they are also manipulative and devious individuals who will leave borrowers owing many times the amount originally agreed.

“And if you question the huge rises or are unable to pay, they can very quickly turn to threats of violence to you and your family.”


Anyone considering taking out a loan can check whether the lender is authorised through the Financial Conduct Authority’s Services Register, by visiting

Sefton Council is urging local people with financial difficulties to visit where there are links to a range of advice and support including debt advice. Or they can get in touch with The Council’s Contact Centre on 0345 140 0845 from 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Thursday and from 9am to 5pm on Fridays.

People can also visit The Sefton Support Hub at where they can find help, advice and guidance, as well as financial and social support.

Internet access

Sefton residents who do not have access to the Internet or a PC or smartphone can get online at their local Sefton Council Library where there is free computer and Wi-Fi access.

Support available includes the Council’s Emergency Limited Assistance Scheme which can provide a one-off payment to help local residents experiencing severe hardship, a disaster or emergency.

Mask has slipped

Cllr Hardy added: “It can be difficult to admit you are facing financial problems, but I can assure people that discussing the help and support that’s available is much easier than trying to negotiate with a loan shark once their friendly mask has slipped.”

Anyone who thinks they have been targeted by a loan shark can report it in confidence to an Illegal Money Lending Team by

Updates can be found from Stop Loan Sharks England on Twitter and on Facebook.

And there is also a Stop Loan Sharks page on the Sefton Directory, which is at


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