Spotting a fake credit report

We Caught a Fake Credit Report

It would be an understatement to say that we’ve reviewed a lot of rental applications.  There’s no word sufficiently descriptive to convey the hours we’ve spent dissecting them. As a result, we’re really good at picking them apart. One of the most important documents we pay attention to when screening tenants is the credit report.

Credit reports provide a detailed overview of a person’s financial competency.  While extenuating circumstances may cause an unfortunate dip in credit, the likelihood is rare. The content of these reports is heavily weighted as a part of our qualification process.

The rental market continues to be competitive. As a result, prospective tenants with lower scores, and questionable finances, are getting creative. Tenants now provide incomplete credit reports, opt for credit companies that provide vague/limited information, and, in some cases, pay for or personally fabricate fraudulent credit reports.

After further review, we realized we had one; we had a completely fraudulent credit report.  

These fraudulent credit reports will often appear real to the average person. A recent one that we received was so good that it got through a couple of levels of checks before some ever-so-subtle discrepancies caught our eyes.  This raised an alarm, causing us to dig deeper.  After further review, we realized we had one; we had a completely fraudulent credit report.

How we knew it was a fake credit report

In two reports for one application, provided by Tenant 1 and Tenant 2, both had the same header and footer. We found the exact same day and time stamp in the header of both documents.  Also, the footers displayed a URL with matching random numbers and letters; an unusual coincidence.  Other differences in the twelve-page documents were bolded fonts that usually are not, and line spacing wasn’t correct. After a thorough review, we found a handful of missing and misspelled words too.

At the end of the day, be EXTREMELY critical in analyzing these documents. It’s all too easy to pass off a fake as legit.  Check out the attached photo below for a sample of the errors we found.

fake credit report