Loan sharks are money lenders who operate outside the law. Their victims usually:
- Have not been able to raise money in any other way.
- A family member or friend has recommended a loan shark.
- The first loan is for a small amount.
- Interest and charges make it hard to repay, so further loans are taken out.
- Items such as benefit books are taken by the loan shark.
- The debt increases continually.
- Threats, including threats of violence are made when payments cannot be made.
- These threats are carried out.
- Victims can see no way out of their situation and can resort to desperate and severe actions.