The Key to Rentals

Watch Out For Fake Paystubs!

Watch Out For Fake Paystubs!

Landlords have many concerns when screening for tenants. 

Can they pay? This is a major consideration.

Determining if a tenant applicant can afford to pay the monthly rent is one of the first and most critical steps a landlord will take in reviewing an application. Even if a tenant has the best of intentions, if there is not enough money, the rent will end up in default. To demonstrate ability to pay, tenants will supply verification of income documentation. Unfortunately, creating falsified income documentation has become too easy. There are many sites online where it is possible to create fake paystubs, and the documents look very real.

It does not stop at paystubs. Creating fake W2 statements and utility bills is easy too.

This is FRAUD! Fraud is a crime with very real consequences.  The Federal Trade Commission recognizes the threat these paystub sites present, and has addressed that here.

To defend against falsified documents, landlords need to exercise extra diligence. Look at the paystub very closely! Is there any misspelling? Do the numbers add up? Is the employer’s address correct? Compare it to a paystub you know to be accurate. Does the formatting appear to be correct? Is there a deduction for a retirement plan and is the current deduction a round percentage of the current gross income? Ask questions!

Close scrutiny may not help you clearly tell if you have a legitimate document. It is necessary to take additional steps in review of your application. Additional paystubs, W2’s or other documents can be requested. Make sure the data is consistent. A verification of employment can be very helpful. Do this directly with Human Resources. A name and phone number provided by the applicant should not be used. (Don’t forget George Costanza at Vandelay Industries!)

Use diligence and common sense. Everybody is not a fraudster, so be respectful and give applicants the opportunity to verify their information. If something does not look right, ask the questions and get additional information as needed. 

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