Posted 6 months ago

Techniques of the fraudulent applicant: what to look for

Property managers have no shortage of responsibilities.

They need to attract quality new residents, keep current ones happy, properly price their units, manage the maintenance requests and evaluate the competition’s performance. The list goes on and on.

Property managers also must keep an eye out for fraudulent applicants.

Unfortunately, from time to time some prospects will submit applications containing false information to try to obtain leases they wouldn’t be able to get by being honest. If they succeed, these scammers can create enormous headaches for real estate managers by not paying their rent, skipping out on their leases, severely damaging their homes or using their units for criminal activities like dealing drugs.

What should property managers and their screeners look for? Below are some of the favorite techniques of fraudulent applicants.

Fake pay stubs — It’s very easy for dishonest applicants to go online and create a fake pay stub. They also can lie about their employment history.

Considering this, operators and their screening partners should diligently cross-reference the applicant’s employment information with the information listed on the applicant’s credit report.

Inaccurate rental history — Applicants may say they rented from a community when they didn’t. They also may say they’ve never rented at all when in reality they’ve left a string of broken leases in their wake. Regardless, a fraudulent applicant is bound to make their rental history look a lot rosier than it really is.

Investigating an applicant’s rental payment history is crucial. However, manual rental payment history checks conducted by onsite leasing agents are notorious for producing incomplete or inaccurate information.

On the other hand, rental payment histories that are automatically and continually gathered from operators by a third party and made available to other operators provide accurate, up-to-date information that can be invaluable when examining an applicant’s background.

Overstating their income and/or credit score — Does an applicant’s stated income seem too high, or does their credit score seem suspicious? It’s possible they may have stolen someone’s Social Security number.

Managers should make sure their screening partners are using advanced fraud detection technology. Today’s cutting-edge screeners can conduct a comprehensive series of crosschecks and searches to spot fraudulent applicants.

There’s no denying the trouble fraudulent applicants can cause operators and their communities. However, by recognizing fraudsters’ common techniques and making sure there are comprehensive screening procedures in place, operators can stop scammers in their tracks and prevent them from moving in.