In a previous post, we talked about how to avoid renting to a scammer. With the rise of technology, the ability to commit fraud has become easier. Today we are going to dive into a more specific question many landlords have when it comes to fraud.
How do I recognize a fake pay stub? This is actually something that applies to a lot more than just landlords. Fake pay stubs are also used in the application of loans.
If you want to ensure you are protecting yourself from this scam, read on below for the best practices to prevent being bamboozled.
The Skinny On The Fake Pay Stub Scam
If you haven’t heard of the fake pay stub scam, here is a quick overview of what it involves.
Currently, there are a number companies that make creating fake pay stubs a breeze. You simply head to a website where you can enter in all the information you want. You can put your actual company’s name on the pay stub, and whatever amount of money you want to pretend you make.
Creating a fake pay stub takes about one minute and around five dollars. These pay stubs look legitimate and are nearly indistinguishable from a real pay stub. In this way, if someone is interested in your property and they do not meet your income requirements, they can quickly print off a few pay stubs to submit with a higher wage amount.
Becoming A Pay Stub Detective
If these pay stubs are so easy, cheap, and fast to create, what is a landlord to do? The good news is that avoiding this scam can be done, and it can be done even by beginning landlords. The following are all good methods for avoiding this scam. Take heed and be a savvy landlord.
Inspect The Pay Stub
The first step you should take is to inspect the pay stub. While fake pay stubs will look legitimate, there are often errors in the math. These errors will usually be found in inconsistent deduction amounts or other mathematical anomalies.
Do the math on the deductions to make sure they make sense and are in-line with the state where the applicant works.
Ask For Employer References
When you ask for references during the application process, make sure to ask for a current employer reference. If an applicant knows you have the ability to call their employer, they will be less likely to try committing pay stub fraud.
Make sure you actually contact the references they provide. This can help you build a better character profile on the individual. Asking for an office number that you can verify through a quick Google search, rather than a cell phone number is a good way to ensure you are not simply speaking to a scammers partner in crime.
Don’t Rely On Pay Stubs Alone
Another good rule of thumb is to not rely on pay stubs alone for your tenant screening process. Pay stubs can be helpful, but when you run a full background check, including criminal and credit, you will get a much clearer picture of an applicant.
If their pay stub says they supposedly make five times the rent amount, but their credit report comes back with major red flags, it is probably wise to question their income.
**Keep in mind that when you are dealing with tenant screening and rejecting applicants, you must always follow the letter of the law. Be sure you know the Fair Housing Act inside and out. When in doubt, consult with a lawyer.
Start With A Thorough Tenant Screening Process
The best way to protect yourself from scams is to thoroughly screen tenants. By using an online rental application,like this one from TurboTenant, you can seamlessly integrate tenant screening into your process. Make sure to run a criminal background check and credit check. If you wish to be extra safe, you can also opt for an eviction history report.