Loan sharks can target vulnerable people over the festive period - offering high-cost loans which trap people into a cycle of debt and misery.
This Stop Loan Sharks Week (5-12 December), find out how to protect yourself and where to report loan sharks operating in your community.
Here are some tips:
1. Save money regularly, so you are not in urgent need of a loan
2. Do not accept cash loans, even if the lender seems friendly or helpful
3. Search the FCA Financial Services register to check if the lender is legal
4. If you need to borrow money, credit unions are a safer alternative to borrowing from a loan shark.
5. If you've been the victim of a loan shark, contact the Illegal Money Lending Team in confidence on 0300 555 2222 or report online. Lines are open around the clock throughout the festive season.