Most prospects who submit an application to live at your community are everyday people looking for a home. You certainly don’t want to make their screening process a brutal one.
But not all applicants have pure intentions. While you want to create a seamless, low-hassle experience, you also have to protect your property from potential fraud. While standard background-check items such as credit and income are easy enough to check, data pertaining to rental history, criminal record and ID verification can be more difficult and time-consuming to collect.
Tech tools can unquestionably help in this process, particularly software that examines all of these parameters and can produce thorough and accurate results in a matter of minutes. But there are potential warning signs for fraud that onsite teams should be aware of, particularly when considering the cost of identity theft and fraud climbed to $16 billion in 2017.
Know the most common
Two of the most common forms of modern-day fraud are altered Social Security numbers and fake or altered pay stubs. For onsite teams, these are two areas to scour for inconsistencies. Keeping in mind that this type of synthetic ID fraud often occurs when real information is mixed with fabricated information, scammers will often try to sneak into an apartment by utilizing a SSN of family members or that of a deceased party. One clear indication something might be awry occurs via an alert that the applicant is using an SSN that doesn’t fit the date-of-birth date range of when it was issued.
Right person, wrong information
Pay stubs, meanwhile, might come from a legitimate place of employment and check all the boxes in that regard. But prospects sometimes will alter the amount on the pay stub, making their income look high enough to qualify for the apartment home. Or, the employee could be purely fictitious. Unfortunately, several online sites are dedicated to producing fake pay stubs for a small fee. Those utilizing these types of scams are much more likely to skip or be evicted within the first year.
Communicating to the prospect
If you are able to determine that the applicant is utilizing a fake or altered ID, it’s best not to escalate the situation. It is nearly universally recommended to let the prospect know that they did not pass the background check while refraining to go into detail. Onsite associates should not be put in the position of having to discuss this type of fraud with the applicant, some of whom might be dangerous.
An estimated 30 percent of applicants don’t possess information that is clear enough to make an immediate decision. That is a significant number, and waiting for a third-party screening service can bog down the process. An automated screening platform, coupled with knowing the warning signs of potential ID fraud, can help deliver a seamless experience for your prospects.