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Protect Your Rental: How to Spot a Fake Application

Rental Application Form and Income StatementsVerifying a potential tenant’s information on their rental application can be a challenge. After all, the burden is on the landlord or property owner to make sure that the tenant has honestly represented themselves. Sadly, some tenants will submit false or misleading information on their application, from a fake “previous landlord” to fraudulent pay stubs – and beyond.

Disregarding how respectable the tenant may look at first glance, it’s advisable to do your due diligence and cautiously examine each aspect of their application. You can start by learning about some of the most common ways applicants may fake information and how to spot them.

Fake Landlord and References

Renters recognize that you’ll have to contact their previous landlord for a reference, not to mention at least one or two people who can vouch for them. Yet, if the tenant has a complicated rental history, they may attempt to provide you with fake references.

On occasion, this could be a friend or family member they’ve asked to pose as a Davis County property manager or reference. But it might be a professional service they’ve hired, as well. Irrespective of the service, these might appear very convincing until you are double-checking all of it.

Fake Employment Info

This is particularly true about an applicant’s employment or income information. Tenants may aim to expand their income to help them qualify for a better rental home, and some of the tactics utilized can be incredibly complicated. Some tenants may go so far as to fabricate pay stubs using online pay stub generators to “prove” their income.

To protect you from being fooled by fake employment information, be certain to cross-reference anything they mention on their application with the information on their credit report. There are a couple of red flags you can inspect, like round numbers, inconsistencies, and a lack of professional appearance.

Lies About Criminal History

Another topic of concern for some applicants is the background check. Other potential tenants may wish that you won’t check their background too closely and claim that they don’t have a criminal record on their application. Undeniably, this is generally a relatively simple one to spot if you are utilizing a background checking service of any quality.

While a decent background check might be costly, a competent Davis County property management company will be able to give extra thorough checks as included in your service contract – and keep you compliant with Fair Housing laws. That alone might make it worth hiring one to manage your properties!

Suspicious Social Security Number

Another typical technique an applicant may seek to fake a rental application is by giving a fake social security number or one that belongs to a child or family member. There are several factors why somebody could do so. That person may have a goal to conceal their credit history or may not even have their social security number.

In any event, you can look for a couple of red flags that will make spotting a fake social security number simpler. If the credit history is blank or has almost nothing on it, the possibilities are that the social security number is either fake or belongs to a child and not the applicant. It’s also imperative to look for inconsistencies, and if anything seems off, do some more digging.


One of the simplest methods to prevent getting duped by a fake rental application is to hire Real Property Management Northern Utah to screen your tenants for you. Our local offices have access to some of the best screening programs in the country, offering you high-quality services on a personal level. Contact us online today to learn more about our full range of property management services.

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