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How to Spot a Fake Paystub

How to Spot a Fake Paystub

If you are or are planning to invest in real estate, there is a very good chance that at some point you will be a “landlord.” One of the vital steps in this process is going to be verifying a potential tenant’s monthly income. The most common way for tenants to show proof of income is by providing a pay stub. We need to be sure a renter can afford the monthly payment, right?

Unfortunately, we live in a world where someone can produce a fake paystub with the click of a few buttons. While, there are some arguments that can be made as far as ethics and the reasons behind doing this, the fact of the matter is, fake is fake. So how, do we know what to look for in order to tell if someone is being honest about their income?

  1. General look- Does the stub look professional? Is the ink smeared, fuzzy, or difficult to read?
  2. Amounts- Are the numbers rounded to the nearest whole number? Do the figures match up when doing the math?
  3. Inconsistencies- Is the information consistent with information you have from another source? Does the name, address, employer info, etc. match up?

While we hope we never have to go through this and all our tenants will be honest, it’s imperative to know what to look for to prevent unqualified tenants from taking advantage of us as property owners. There are also programs that property owners can use for background checks and to verify a potential tenant's income. The tenant pays the fee for the service, which also deters anyone that is not serious about renting. As the landlord, you get a detailed report about their credit history, criminal background check, income, etc. Check out our website for more information on some of these companies.

Areas of Review


Big picture takeaway points

  1. Look for inconsistencies in the paystub.
  2. Make sure everything matches on the paystub.
  3. Ask for more than just one paystub. It’s harder for somebody to fake more than one.


Self-reflection questions to think more about the content

  1. Have I looked at Tenant Verify?
  2. Does the potential tenant’s info check out?
  3. Do I have more than one person interested in the property?

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