Seeing red (flags): How to avoid a foreclosure avoidance scam
There are two major red flags to look for: The first is companies that want cash up-front. Legitimate organizations devoted to helping people avoid foreclosure realize that people who need their assistance don't have cash. If someone offers to help you save your house but wants you to pay them first, run the other way: You have encountered an "advance fee scam." Just like the Nigerian email scam, they'll take your cash and run, or at the very least, fail to deliver the results they've promised.
The second thing to be on guard for is companies that give themselves familiar names that evoke images of a government agency. It's designed to be misleading -- and that doesn't bode well for future dealings with the company. A quick Google search can help you learn whether a company is legitimate.