You are reading: How to Spot a Fake Paystub
In this article
Ah, the trusty pay stub – a key document in verifying an applicant’s income. But in the age of digital manipulation and photo editing software, it’s easier than ever to create a fake pay stub that looks all too real. As a property manager, it can be tough to know for certain whether a pay stub is legit or a clever forgery.
The combination of online applications, paystub generation websites, and a recessed economy made 2020 a record year for financial document fraud in rental applications. In fact, Snappt recently analyzed application documentation for over 15,000 rental applications in 2020. On average, our customers saw a 14% fraud rate, and in the residential market, fraud leads to evictions.
Snappt has been catching fraudsters and compiling fraud rates in the residential industry for years. Here’s what we’ve learned.
Tips for Spotting Fake Paystubs
There are many websites that can create fake pay stubs in minutes. These pay stubs look legitimate and are nearly indistinguishable from a real pay stub. Scammers can enter any information they want to fraudulently qualify for a rental, opening up the property to risk – financially and reputationally.
Call Their Employer
A quick way to filter out scammers is to ask them for permission to call their employer. Their reaction can give you the first clues as to whether the pay stub is real. Don’t call the number they provide; research the company and contact them directly. They may have asked a friend to pretend to be their employer and provided you with a different phone number.
Cross-Check the Pay Stub With a Bank Statement
Confirm that the income on the pay stub is correct by asking for a bank statement to cross-reference. This figure should appear on the statement as a deposit, and the deposit should show the name of the company paying them.
Check the Decimal Point Alignment on the Pay Stub
This may seem oddly specific, but decimals that are out of alignment are an easy watch to detect a fake document. Accounting software automatically aligns all the digits and decimal points, so if anything is out of place, the pay stub is likely fake. This includes the overall look of the document as well. Does it look professional? Are the fonts and alignment consistent?
Do the Math
Check whether the figures on the pay stub add up and whether the deductions are correct for your area. Novice scammers don’t check the numbers provided on the generators. Inconsistencies are a sign of fraud.
Another fundamental mistake that scammers make when generating a fake pay stub is to use round numbers. Paychecks are seldom a rounded number once deductions are taken into account, so be on the lookout for that.
Scammers can forget to correct generic information when faking pay stubs. Ensure that all the information matches what they’ve already told you. Missing or inconsistent information such as the applicant’s name, address, company, and other personal information can be a dead giveaway. The document should also include taxes, insurance deductions, and gross pay.
Spot Fake Paystubs Quickly with Snappt
Creating a fake pay stub takes a few minutes, but it can be challenging to detect. So what’s the solution? Instead of spending four to 10 hours vetting an application, property managers can spend minutes using AI-enabled software like Snappt.
Start by uploading digital documentation for image and historical analysis and a data-driven review using algorithms tuned to catch document manipulation. Within 24 hours, Snappt certifies whether the documentation is fraudulent or authentic. Hooray!
To Sum Up…
Identifying fake pay stubs may seem daunting, but with the right tools and knowledge, it’s easier than you might think. By scrutinizing the document for inconsistencies, verifying the information with the employer, and using tools like Snappt to detect fraudulent activity, you can protect yourself from scammers trying to pull a fast one.