The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on Monday wrote to three web search engines -- Google, Bing and Yahoo -- to ask the companies to work with federal and state authorities to prevent "student debt relief scammers" from targeting distressed borrowers.
"The CFPB has seen an increase in the number of companies and websites requiring large up-front fees to help borrowers enroll in a plan that can be done for free," according to the CFPB. "While we have warned consumers about these scams, we are concerned that unscrupulous companies may be using aggressive advertising through search products to lure distressed borrowers."
State and federal agencies have pursued several of the debt relief outfits for allegedly illegal and harmful actions, the letter said. And the CFPB said some of those companies may be violating the search engine hosts' policies against misrepresentation in advertisements.