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CFPB Letter on Student Debt Relief Scams

June 23, 2015

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.

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Paul Fain

Paul Fain, Contributing Editor, came to Inside Higher Ed in September 2011, after a six-year stint covering leadership and finance for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Paul has also worked in higher ed P.R., with Widmeyer Communications, but couldn't stay away from reporting. A former staff writer for C-VILLE Weekly, a newspaper in Charlottesville, Va., Paul has written for The New York Times, Washington City Paper and Mother Jones. He's won a few journalism awards, including one for beat reporting from the Education Writers Association and the Dick Schaap Excellence in Sports Journalism Award. Paul got hooked on journalism while working too many hours at The Review, the student newspaper at the University of Delaware, where he earned a degree in political science in 1996. A native of Dayton, Ohio, and a long-suffering fan of the Cincinnati Bengals, Fain plays guitar in a band with more possible names than polished songs.

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