Debt relief and credit repair fraud are on the rise. Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, D-Kansas City, said the increase in these scams is deeply troubling.

“They’re so fraudulent that they make Bernie Madoff seem like the Dalai Lama. And they are specializing and making people who are hurting, hurt more. They are inverted ATM machines,” said Cleaver.

Cleaver said the problem deserves the attention of Congress and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“Americans are being victimized by other Americans who are running these fraudulent organizations promising to fix bad credit, when in reality they’re going to fix you,” he said.

Cleaver suggests that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau does public service announcements about these scams.

“One of the things that people have as a major problem more than anything else are their finances,” said Cleaver. “And there are those who have sought to take advantage of people. In fact, they are generally targeted by these credit repair companies who are, from my perspective, almost committing thievery.”

Cleaver is a member of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services.

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