USDA Loans & FHA Loans - Be very careful of deceptive web sites

Mortgage and Lending with Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc


man behind the mask


              of web sites when searching for information. Who or what you think is behind a specific site might not be what you think.  Just as the picture, 'who is the man behind the mask'. Just as in mortgage web sites, are you dealing with the government such as HUD or USDA, or lenders and lead generators pretending to be someone else.

What leads me to this blog is because someone left a comment on one of my USDA loan blogs and left a link to a web site. It was one of theirs that makes it appear as a web site for the USDA. If you do your research, it's a lead generator. It's wear you leave your information and this company puts you in touch with numerous lenders. But you would not know this unless you know what to look for. Besides, he had an Active Rain profile, which described what he does for business.



As many of you know or those that follow my blogs, I am all about education. I have never claimed to know it all, but if I don't, I will try to find the correct information. After explaining to this gentleman my thoughts and opinions about leaving his link as a comment, and that I felt his site was misleading to the general public, he wrote back to me. This is what he said.

"  This is a FHA site, right?"

He referred to my other blog site that is listed above, trying to tell me that I am advertising that site as an FHA site for FHA loans.  I then stated that I don't see how that is possible, when not only do I give my name at the top right part of the site, but there is an about me page, telling people a little information about myself. His site?  In my opinion, it truly leads me to believe that it is the USDA site. Here is the front page and you be the judge.

USDA Loans - rural housing loans



















I am sorry, but I have a problem with a site like this. In big bold white letters, it states USDA Rural Development and then opens with the statement, "USDA Rural Development Welcomes You".  I know what the USDA site looks like, but do many of you?  If you were searching and came across this site, would you know any differently?  Do you know this site gathers names and e-mail address and sells them to other lenders?  Here is the USDA loans site -  USDA Loans -



Do you know that all domain names ending in dot gov has to be approved and registered. There is even a government site that states this. Government Domain Registration & Services - This site protects domain name integrity and this is found on the front page. Here is what it says :

"Domain Name Integrity
To maintain domain name integrity, eligibility is limited to qualified government organizations and programs. Having a managed domain name such as .gov assures your customers that they are accessing an official US Government Site."

My point on web sites is, look at the URL, the very end of it, ( end in dot gov is a clear indication that the government is watching over the site.) This can usually give you a better indication to who is running the site, who is in charge of the site.



I have also seen many FHA web pages claiming to be the main site for FHA loans.  There is only one main site and that is called  What I do appreciate and respect are those sites that might look and feel like the main site by the government, but they state right on the site that it's not a government site. Here are a few examples.

FHA loan web site





FHA loan web site






 Both of these are clippings for other FHA web sites that talk about FHA loans and FHA mortgages. And as you can see, they don't claim to be all about FHA through the government. The first one even says that it's not affiliated with any government agencies, including FHA. I do have a problem with some of these though, because they make these statements in very small letters at the bottom of the site. If you aren't reading the whole site, you might miss this.




Here is one that I have a slight problem with....  this site puts you in contact with other lenders that can do FHA loans. Remember the old saying that people usually don't do anything for free?  Well, do you think web sites give out free information?  This FHA web site is what I call a lead generator. They put you in contact with other lenders and receive a fee for this from them. Who do you think this fee usually gets passed down to?  You, the borrower, because it's carried as an advertisement expense by the lender that signs up for this type of service.

fha loans







Summary :  My whole purpose of this blog is to educate others in what to look for. There are many very helpful web sites out there in regards to USDA loans, FHA loans, VA loans, and mortgages in general. But don't get fooled that you are talking to a government agency or someone giving you information, but who may be capturing your information without you knowing it. Many of these sites have disclose this, but you have to go looking for it on that particular site. Just be careful out there.




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Copyright © 2011 by Jeff Belonger of Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc


Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Bridget Cella 04/27/2009 08:37 AM
Lending / Financial
Florida Broward County Lauderdale by the Sea
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The FHA Mortgage Group
USDA Rural Development Loan Group
fha loans
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misleading web sites
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Sonja Babic
Sonja Babic/PRIME Realty NC, LLC - New Bern, NC
New Bern NC, PRIME Realty NC, LLC

Thank you Jeff, there is so much junk out there trying to take advantage of home owners in distress that is sickening. Great info

Apr 27, 2009 12:12 AM #10
Jason Sardi
Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina - Charlotte, NC
Your Agent for Life

I second Tom's comment 100%.

The deception in our business can be scary, keep fighting the good fight JB.

Apr 27, 2009 12:46 AM #11
Stephen Kappre
KW Hometown - Mantua, NJ
Helping You Home

What you say is true. I've seen these sites as well and feel really bad for the customer caught in these type of deceptive traps. You go to leanding tree for rate quotes, not a "pretend" FHA or USDA site. It would be nice to see the attys and such really crack down on those fake sites. I'd have to believe in the end it is NOT in the public's best interest.

Apr 27, 2009 12:58 AM #12
Tim Johnson - Scarsdale, NY

Nice post. I'm being only somewhat facetious when I say this: the deceptive Websites offer have a more polished look and feel than government websites. Many government Websites have a design from the early 2000's.

Apr 27, 2009 01:00 AM #13
Kathy Torline
ERA Herman Group Real Estate - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Real Estate Blog 719-287-1049

Great post -- I recently wrote something similar about HUD sites; and how there are sites out there that aren't the official site

Apr 27, 2009 01:12 AM #14
Donna Edwards
Donna Edwards Realty - Odessa, TX

With all the regulations you would think that this type of deception would be included as a violation.

Apr 27, 2009 02:31 AM #15
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Jeff - Great advice for all of us.  Thanks so much for providing this information, since most people wouldn't think to check at this level of detail.  Nice job!

Apr 27, 2009 02:55 AM #16
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS,CRB
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ
Arizona's Top Banana of Real Estate!

Jeff...thanks for the heads up.  I think part of our job is to educate our clients so they don't go off to a 'tricksters' site and get caught up in a trap.  Sneaky stuff.  It''ll be  a while before the gov starts tracking these folks down as they've got bigger fish to fry.

Thanks.....I'm going to share this post with my team and staff so we can all learn from it.

Apr 27, 2009 03:48 AM #17
Mike Frazier
Carousel Realty of Dyer County - Dyersburg, TN
Northwest Tennessee Realtor


I have found many of these sites were formally B-paper pushers so I do not trust them!

Apr 27, 2009 03:50 AM #18
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI

the .gov is a good clue Jeff.   Even with or are not the same as :)

Apr 27, 2009 04:17 AM #19
Christianne O'Malley
RE/MAX Realty Affiliates - Reno, NV
Exceptional Service - Delivering Results in Reno!

Thanks Jeff for tweeting this out last night and I'm glad it got featured. If we are all diligent and report this type of inappropriate behavior, perhaps we can put a dent into it.

It's too bad that the government doesn't make it illegal like some real estate franchises do to protect their marks. I know that RE/MAX doesn't allow any agent to have the word 'remax' in their site name. The National Association of Realtors won't allow you to use the word Realtor in your domain name unless it is coupled with your complete first and last name.

Why doesn't the FHA protect their marks to prevent this sort of thing?

Apr 27, 2009 05:15 AM #20
Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR
ERA - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale - Mesquite, NV
Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS

It really does look like an official site.  Intentionally deceptive and very well done.

You are very transparent on your FHA sites and it is clear that you work in the buyers best interests.

Apr 27, 2009 05:20 AM #21
Jeff Belonger
Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc - Cherry Hill, NJ
The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans


DONNA..... thanks for the compliment. What's funny is that I have always had these same complaints and concerns over the last 8 years or so, but I didn't think about writing this specific blog until this guy put his link into one of my comments.  I am glad he did, because this needs to get talked about more than it does.  And yes, many consumers get duped daily. Look at the online scams when it comes to predators that steal your identity over the internet... or those people that get you to send money, possibly telling you that they love you, etc, etc..  I had a few girls contact me online, send me pics, make me feel loved... and then 1 week later, bam, they are in trouble and now need money...  lol.. but so sad, because people do follow for it.  thanks

MATT..... you should put your cat onto them then, maybe that will teach them... lol  Seriously, there are many that will try and trick you, make you this otherwise. I know it's part of sales, but it's the part that ticks me off.

RICHARD.... . that is the scary part.. it's very easy to make a site like that and it's easy to fall prey to it, unless you know what you are looking at and or know what you are talking about.  thanks

ANDREA..... . good for you, about the USDA site.. but as you can see, this other site could pass for the main site for USDA and many wouldn't know the difference. Hence why I love writing about this kind of stuff, which you mentioned, being aware of this kind of stuff.  thanks

WILLIAM aka BILL...... yes, I am singing to the choir for the most part on here, but this post was not for AR, but to the average consumer. If I didn't get one comment, that wouldn't bother me, because I get many borrowers that read my blogs and who call me up.  I love to educate and educate those on AR, but my mission is a higher one when getting business.  thanks


Apr 27, 2009 06:08 AM #22
Marzena Melby
Coldwell Banker Burnet Realty - Richfield, MN
Realtor, Twin Cities Minnesota Real Estate


These are very important warnings, especially for our clients.  It seems to me that the real estate professionals are able to recognize the wrong sources, but the public probably won't.

Apr 27, 2009 06:13 AM #23
Timothy Schwartz
Century 21 Mack Morris Iris Lurie - Marlboro Twp, NJ

Jeff, thanks for educating the public.  I will be sure to follow you on Twitter.  Keep up the good work.

Apr 27, 2009 06:16 AM #24
Winston Westbrook
Westbrook National Real Estate Co - Victorville, CA

Hi Jeff. Thanks for giving us a heads up on these tricky websites. Trying to trick someone into doing business with you is just not the way to establish a business relationship with someone. It just wont last.

Apr 27, 2009 07:54 AM #25
Bridget Cella
Re/Max Connection - Sewell, NJ
e-Pro, Realtor

Well written post - very informative.

Apr 27, 2009 08:37 AM #26
Jeff Belonger
Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc - Cherry Hill, NJ
The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans


BILL..... I think not only the average consumer, but some loan officers and realtors could fall for some of this. It's just human nature to go with someone that sounds good or who makes promises and guarantees.  thanks

SONJA.....  my pleasure, hence why I wanted to write about this... especially after it was staring me right in the face when this other person sent me a link to their site. And they didn't understand when I asked them to remove it.... lol

JASON S. .... .  I think many of us would agree with each other. And you have people like Bill A. that says that I am preaching this to the choir... but I feel that not all know this or have seen this. thanks

STEVE..... I agree with you 110%, that the DA's would look into this and such. But I guess it would be up to people like you and I, to report sites like these?  Are at least for the state and or other agencies to make all companies like this to put something mandatory on their site, so people can see the difference. And I am not talking about small letters as I showed above.  thanks

TIM... . Bingo and I agree, that these sites look very polished.  But I don't think the average consumer knows this or watches for this... thanks


Apr 27, 2009 09:11 AM #27
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Jeff, this kind of thing goes on in real estate also. They call them 'stealth sites' and they aren't legal, because a broker's name/logo is supposed to be prominent in any advertising we do. Thanks for the heads up about lender sites.

Apr 28, 2009 03:24 PM #28
Diane Aurit
LKN Realty, LLC - Mooresville, NC
Lake Norman Real Estate

Jeff, The lending experience is so challenging for our clients today.  It is a shame that we also have to try to figure out who is legitimate and who isn't!  Thanks for this post and the links!

Apr 29, 2009 09:00 AM #29
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