How to Avoid Fake Credit Reports
This is a short read but VERY IMPORTANT … Are you one hundred per cent confident that the credit report you’re reviewing for that AAA tenant is legit? A ten-year-old kid with Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft PowerPoint can create a fake credit report and fool the best of us. Not to mention, those without the techie prowess are now purchasing phoney credit reports.
While some of the professionally altered credit applications will be hard to pick-out, here are a few things to look for:
- Do the dates match up? Is there a “Printed” date in the header or footer? Is it consistent on each page and how does it align with the date the report was pulled?
- Do the names match other ID sources?
- Do you have all of the pages? Be sure to look in the footer for “Page X of Z” to ensure you’ve got the entire document
- Are parts of the page cut off?
- Never accept screenshots of a report, always request a full copy, ideally a PDF or hard copy
What to look for in a credit report
It’s quite simple. Spend the money and order the credit report yourself. Be sure to get the tenant to sign a rental application or similar document that gives you the authorization to do so in advance. Pulling a credit report without permission could result in serious litigation. We often suggest requesting Equifax credit reports as we find them to be the most comprehensive and they’re easy to save/print a full copy, opposed to some alternatives that give a more basic summary and aren’t easily compiled into an easy-to-read report. However, no matter which company the report comes from, read it thoroughly with a keen eye.
Reviewing credit applications is an important step to finding the right tenant. Complete this along with a solid tenant interview and you’ll be well on your way to an enjoyable landlord experience.