Consumer advocates say North Texans facing foreclosure should beware of mortgage schemes, because they can find help for free.
Ads that promise to "stop foreclosure" or "help those who have fallen behind" can be misleading and costly.
"People are already in a bad situation, so for someone to charge them and take advantage of them and convince them that they need to spend money on something that they don't need to is very frustrating," said Kimberly Divers, of Jordan CDC.
But consumers can find help -- for free -- at places such as Jordan CDC, a Richardson-based nonprofit.
Divers said Jordan CDC does not charge for its services.
"What people need to understand is that it is free," she said. "Most of what needs to be done is stuff they can do themselves."
Shawnte McNealy lost her job and fell four months behind on her mortgage payments.
"I got a foreclosure notice that my house was going into foreclosure," she said.
Jordan CDC counselors negotiated a forbearance for McNealy.
"You basically just ask the mortgage company to take those four months and put them on the end of your loan," Divers said. "So, basically, they just move them."
It saved McNealy's home and her credit, all without costing her a dime.
"I started off fresh -- no paying extra money to catch up, none of that," McNealy said.