Tips for Spotting Fake Pay Stubs

As a property manager, there will likely come a time when someone tries to deceive you on their rental application. Whether they’re fudging their criminal history or misrepresenting a previous landlord, these tactics can seriously threaten your ability to make an informed decision about who to rent your property to.

One of the most egregious scams you might come across during your review of tenant applications is someone trying to pass off a fake pay stub. Digital technology makes it easier than ever to forge a pay stub; however, there are still a few ways that you can catch a scammer prior to signing a lease. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to rent to anyone with the peace of mind that their pay stub is truthful.

Contact the employer

The easiest way to catch a scammer in the act of passing off a forged paycheck is to reach out to the employer on the pay stub. This can be a quick and simple way to ensure that the tenant in question is still employed by the company they say they are.

If you have any concerns about the veracity of a pay stub, double-checking with the applicant’s employer is an easy way to verify that they are telling the truth. A simple phone call is all it takes to receive confirmation that the pay stub accurately reflects the applicant’s wages, so you can then move them along the rental process.

Look for missing information

Sometimes a forger will forget crucial information, which makes it easier for you to determine whether or not they’re trying to pass off a fake or not. Make sure that pay dates, hours, and employer information is all listed on the pay stub.

You may also want to verify that the addresses listed on the stub are accurate, and that all necessary benefits deductions and taxes are properly listed. Comparing the stub to several legitimate ones should help you determine what information needs to be listed.

Do the math yourself

Making sure the math is properly calculated is another way to catch a falsified paystub. For example, sometimes only a few numbers will be changed by moving decimal points or adding an extra number here or there. Make sure that the total listed on the pay stub is what the numbers on it actually add up to.

The same goes for looking at the taxes that are being withheld. By doing the math yourself, you can potentially catch places where the renter has made a sloppy mistake in faking their pay stub.

Ask for more verification

When in doubt, it never hurts to ask for more proof. For example, if you’ve already performed the suggestions above but something still feels fishy about the paystub, you can always ask for proof of earnings via a bank statement. This can be a great way to verify that the amount payroll is depositing into their bank each month matches the pay stub you were given.

It also allows you to have a better understanding of what the tenant’s savings habits are like, and how often they spend money on frivolous items. Having multiple ways to confirm that your tenant is accurately representing themselves can give you much needed peace of mind, and it’s easy to ask for on an online rental application from a website like Turbo Tenant.

It’s always a good idea to be cautious when leasing to new tenants. Your due diligence as a landlord includes ensuring that all documents provided to you during the application process are truthful, and that includes pay stubs. By following the above steps, you’ll be able to successfully determine whether or not someone is telling the truth or trying to scam you.