Update: If you’re searching for a loan shark, please read this guide thoroughly. You’ll discover the exact reasons why you never want to borrow from a loan shark, plus discover alternative lending solutions that are much better options!
First of all, getting money from loan sharks online, or elsewhere, is like digging a big hole to patch up a small hole in your yard. In fact, soon the hole you dig may end up becoming your financial grave. Loan sharks or predatory lenders charge exorbitant interest rates for every dollar they loan you. That said, you’ll have a hard time paying back not only the original amount, but also the interest itself.
Sadly, many people choose to pay loan sharks by borrowing money from another loan shark, digging themselves deeper and deeper in debt, all for a small financial need that could have been solved by going to a bank or other legitimate money lenders, which have more manageable interest rates.
Now you may think you are smart enough to stay away from loan sharks, but don’t be too sure, because the last time we checked, no loan shark actually called itself a loan shark. That never ever happened. Loan sharks call themselves many names such as usurers, payday lenders, fast lenders, title loans and many more. Whatever name they call themselves, one thing is sure to happen when you deal with loan sharks—you will lose.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why People Fall Into the Loan Shark Trap
- 2 How to Spot a Loan Shark
- 3 Here’s Why You Don’t Need Loan Sharks (Alternatives for Bad Credit)
- 4 Top 9 Famous Loan Sharks in US History
- 5 How to Report a Loan Shark
- 6 Loan Shark FAQ’s
Why People Fall Into the Loan Shark Trap
Almost everyone knows that loan sharks are not good for them and yet, predatory lending remains a multi-billion dollar business. Why are people still giving in to loan sharks when they know that they are just going to be screwed?
One of the reasons is ignorance. People know that they should stay away from loan sharks, but they don’t know who the loan sharks are. Fortunately, we will tackle how to spot illegal lenders later. But for now, let us determine the most common reasons why people go to a loan shark:
- Can’t pay the mortgage or rent
- Health and medical emergencies
- To repay other debts
- Death in the family
- To pay utility bills like water, electricity, etc
- To put food on the table
- Repair an issue with a vehicle
- Credit cards are maxed out
- Pay for college/university expenses
- Holidays (buying gifts, etc)
- Business loans
All of the above reasons, coupled with time constraints and desperation, lead people to borrow money from unscrupulous loan sharks. What they do not know is that by borrowing money from loan sharks, they are creating a bigger problem for themselves, much bigger than the original problem they aim to solve with the loan.
One more reason people give in to loan sharks is the fact that they may not know how to spot a loan shark, which leads us to the next part.
How to Spot a Loan Shark
To avoid a loan shark, you have to know how to spot one. Loan sharks are obvious to spot once you know the signs. For starters, loan sharks always have questionable names that often include the words quick, speed, fast and other synonyms of fast, plus synonyms for money such as cash, money, bucks and many more.
Therefore, if you see a lender with the name quick cash, fast money and cash rush for example, take a second look and tread lightly. These may be loan sharks.
Here are some other signs that a lending company may be a loan shark:
They make it too easy for you to get the money
Banks and other legal lending institutions use stringent measures to know whether you have the ability to pay the amount you borrowed. That is because these legal lending institutions want you to be able to pay them.
Loan sharks on the other hand make it so easy for you to get the money. Many loan sharks don’t even check your credit rating. That is because loan sharks would be happier if you can’t pay them because then they can force you to get another loan with them to pay for the old loan but not all of it.
Some of the original loans remain plus the interest from the old loan. When the next payment period comes and you still can’t pay the 2 loans you have with them, they will tempt you to take another loan. Your debt will then grow bigger and you’ll go deeper in debt.
They offer very little or no paperwork
We are talking about licenses, records of payment, credit agreements and many more. There is a reason why they won’t show you these paperwork—to keep you in the dark. Without credit agreements, you don’t know what violations of the loans you may have made, which will give them the chance to penalize you, add surcharges to your balance etc.
Without your record of payment, they can add amount to your debt without your permission. You would be surprised that your molehill of a debt becomes a mountain as they pile up.
They won’t tell you the interest rate
Yes, they will try to keep your attention on the money and avoid ever telling you the interest rates. This is because when you know how much their interest rates are, you might back out. Loan sharks go beyond the legal interest rates allowed by states. We are talking about interest rates above 25, 30 and even 50 percent, which are above the allowable interest rates for banks. If calculated for annualized interest rates, that would be more than 6,000 percent.
Sure, you might think that that won’t matter because after all, you will pay as soon as possible. Unfortunately, in most cases, loan shark debts will and often last for years because of the next sign of a loan shark:
They pile on more debt on top of your loan (without telling you)
This is self-explanatory, but let’s take a look at one example. Lets say you owe a loan shark $500. You think you will be able to pay it in a month or two, but to your surprise, just a small fraction of your original debt is paid because first, most of your payments go to paying the interest instead of the loaned amount and second, because the loan sharks may have added additional debt to your loan without your knowledge.
Remember that most loan sharks will not show you the paperwork such as your payment records.
They use personal items as collateral
Even though loan sharks do not want you to pay your debt in full, they do want you to pay constantly for the interest, which will give them lots of profits.
To make you pay, they may take some items from you as collateral such as your passport, your driver’s license, and other important things.
They are very persuasive and confident
Loan sharks will not tell you what will happen if you can’t pay. In fact, they make it sound like it is perfectly fine if you can’t pay. That is because they don’t want you to know that they are planning to drain your finances.
Here’s Why You Don’t Need Loan Sharks (Alternatives for Bad Credit)
Loan sharks succeed by tempting people in desperate times. They present deceptively attractive offers such as getting the money you need in one day or even within a few hours. But you should know better than to get tempted and tricked to enter their trap. Remember, once you are indebted to a loan shark, it is very difficult to get out.
There are better and safer ways to get the cash you need without committing financial suicide by borrowing money from predatory lenders.
Here are safer ways to borrow money:
How to Get a Bank Loan
It may take longer to get the money you need from a bank, versus a loan shark, but you are definitely safer doing business with an established bank. They have lower rates, they tell you all the details of your loan, and they won’t screw you. Even if you think your credit is too bad to apply for bank financing, give it a shot.
Many banks these days are willing to work with people that have bad credit. If your credit score is 620 or above, you might have a chance (depending on how much you need, etc).
Ask a Friend or Relative for a Loan
If you need the cash fast, you can ask a trusted friend or a relative for a small loan. Although they rarely do, if they ask for interest, you can be sure that it will not be too much (if they are a decent person). You may think this is not an option for you. However, simply make a list of everyone you know. Go down the list of friends and family until you find someone that is willing to help you. Don’t rule this out!
Use a Cash Advance From Your Credit Card
Under normal circumstances, getting cash from your credit card is not advisable. However, in case of emergencies, it is infinitely better than getting your money from a loan shark. As long as you don’t abuse your credit card, it will be manageable to pay it.
On the other hand, borrowing money from a loan shark is like jumping off a cliff.
Sell Unwanted Stuff on Ebay and Amazon
We all have stuff laying around the house that we’ll never use again. Take a good inventory of things in your house you no longer need or want. You may think its not valuable, but there is a famous saying that goes like this:
“One man’s junk is another man’s treasure”.
Start searching on Ebay and Amazon to see what is popular and selling, then see if you have any of these items you can list for sale.
Top 9 Famous Loan Sharks in US History
For many years, predatory lending has been synonymous to the mafia. This is because the mafia runs the biggest and most widespread predatory lending business in America. The truth is these loan sharks had many debtors killed and maimed for simply not being able to pay their loans or the interests.
Here are some of the most notorious mafia loan sharks ever:
“Fat Tony” as he was called, was one of the bosses of the Genovese mafia family. He was not only involved in loan sharking, he was also involved in gambling and numbers rackets, grossing his mafia family $50 million annually.
Dubbed “The Lord High Executioner” by authorities, Fiore Buccieri was one evil loan shark who instilled fear among the people who fell victim to his debt trap. In fact, they were so scared of him and his brutal punishment for non-payers that people chose to commit robbery just to pay him.
Frank Calabrese Sr.
Frank Calabrese Sr. or “Frankie Breeze” ran a large loan sharking and illegal gambling operations for the Chicago Outfit. He often ordered his thugs to do violent acts against debtors, often confiscating their cars and homes for the very small loans they got from him.
Gerry Lang as he was called was the boss of the Colombo family that ran loan shark, extortion and labor businesses. Often ruthless, he would not hesitate to kill.
Vincent Dominic “Jimmy” Caci
Caci ran an illegal lending business in Palm Springs and Las Vegas, making $1 million per week.
Frank was the underboss for the Gambino crime family in New York City. Often feared for ruthlessness and brutality, he made millions from illegal lending alone.
Nicholas Cabrese, the brother of top loan shark in Chicago, Frank Calabrese, made millions from illegal lending and other criminal activities in the state.
Authorities called him the “worst torture murderer the United States has ever seen.” He was one of the first and most successful loan sharks in Chicago.
“Nicky Cigars,” as he was called, ran a booker and illegal lending business in Brooklyn and Manhattan. He was the underboss of the notorious Bonano Mafia family.
How to Report a Loan Shark
If you think you may have borrowed money from a loan shark or a predatory lender, you have to take careful steps to get out of the jam. However, it is harder than you may think and depending on the type of loan shark you made a deal with, it can also be dangerous.
The first thing you need to do is report the person or company to the Consumer Credit Protection Bureau. You can file a complaint here.
If you just want to get out of the situation without turning the company in, the best choice you have is to pay your debt and the interest right away. You can do that by getting a loan from a bank or from a family member. Try negotiating with the lending company for debt settlement or debt arbitration. The longer you let the debt remain, the harder it becomes to pay it.
If the loan shark threatens to harm you physically, don’t hesitate to tell the police, but make sure that the authorities hide your identity in case the loan shark has a connection to a crime syndicate.
Loan sharks live up to their name. Like sharks, they look for people who are desperately flailing in a sea of financial needs, then they grab them and never let them go until they swallow their victims whole.
Loan Shark FAQ’s
Loan sharks are illegal and predatory lenders that prey on low-income individuals in financial distress. They offer to lend you money at exorbitant interest rates and do not follow financial regulations or laws. This is why they often charge whatever interest rates and fees that see fit. And because of this, consumers often get trapped in a cycle of never ending debt. Worse yet, if you fail to repay a loan shark as agreed, you will be forever harassed. Think debt collectors are bad? Loan sharks take it to a new level. Often threatening to cause physical harm to yourself and family members if you don’t pay up.
The answer is simple. Stop looking. Borrowing from a loan shark would be the worst decision you could possibly ever make. If you desperately need money to cover emergency expenses, research bad credit installment loans with the best APR or borrow money from friends or family.
Because loan sharking is illegal, loan sharks can charge whatever APR, interest and fees they see fit. They have been known to charge over 1,000% APR or even higher. Whatever financial crisis you may be experiencing is not worth the high interest rates charged by illegal lenders.
It absolutely is illegal. Each state within the United States has usury laws all lenders must follow, with a maximum APR each lender must abide to.
Bottom line? Avoid loan sharks at all costs.