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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 assure that the tenant has honestly represented themselves. Regrettably, some tenants will suggest false or misleading information on their application, from a fake “previous landlord” to fraudulent pay stubs – and beyond.

Irrespective of how good the tenant may look at first glance, it’s important to do your due diligence and closely check each part of their application. You can begin by learning about some of the most typical ways applicants may fake information and how to spot them.

Fake Landlord and References

Renters know that you will want to contact their previous landlord for a reference, not to mention at least one or two people who can vouch for them. But if the tenant has a troubled rental history, they may try to connect you with fake references.

Sometimes, this could be a friend or family member they’ve asked to pose as a Pawtucket property manager or reference. But it could likewise be a professional service they’ve hired, as well. Depending on the service, these can look pretty convincing unless you are double-checking everything.

Fake Employment Info

The same thing is true about an applicant’s employment or income information. Tenants may try to bloat their income to help them qualify for a better rental home, and some of the tactics used can be quite advanced. Some tenants may go so far as to fabricate pay stubs using online pay stub generators to “prove” their income.

To avoid being duped by fake employment info, be sure to cross-reference anything they put on their application with the information on their credit report. There are several red flags you can look for, including round numbers, inconsistencies, and a lack of professional appearance.

Lies About Criminal History

One more trouble area for some applicants is the background check. Some potential tenants may hope that you won’t check their background too carefully and claim that they don’t have a criminal record on their application. Of course, this is usually a pretty easy one to spot if you are using a background checking service of any quality.

While an excellent background check can be quite costly, a good Pawtucket property management company will be able to provide more thorough checks as part of 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 common way an applicant may try to fake a rental application is by providing a fake social security number or one that belongs to a child or family member. There are many reasons why someone might do so. The applicant may have a motive to conceal their credit history or may not even have their social security number.

Either way, you can watch for a few red flags that will make spotting a fake social security number easier. If the credit history is blank or has almost nothing on it, the chances are that the social security number is either fake or belongs to a child and not the applicant. It’s also important to watch for inconsistencies, and if anything seems off, do some more digging.


One of the easiest ways to avoid getting duped by a fake rental application is to hire Real Property Management Providence 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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