In this day and age, most Americans have become extremely critical about the type of information they receive. Whether they’re analyzing the true sugar amount of their favorite Summer-time drinks or the overwhelming number of articles coining the phrase ‘fake news’, unfortunately you can’t stop there. With a simple internet connection, your rental applicants can now forge their own credit reports.
While many landlords and real estate agents have a set background screening provider (with credit) that they trust, and request their applicants’ reports for them, there are a few cases where a rental applicant might try to get around this. For starters, your applicant might rationalize bringing in their own report because they simply want to avoid negatively impacting their credit score with another credit inquiry. Or, maybe the applicant simply wants to get around paying an additional fee. Even if the applicant justifies that they already have their copy of their background report from a recent rental application, in any case, do not let the applicant use a previously pulled credit report.
If you’ve been a long-time reader, you’ll know that employment references and paystubs can be forged. With how rapidly technology is advancing, it’s no surprise that credit reports can now be counterfeited as well. PDF files of credit reports that look like they came from Experian® (like this one), Equifax® (like this one), or TransUnion® can be easily taken and altered through a pdf filler or Photoshop to hold whatever information the applicant wants. Even the most unsophisticated criminal can alter the dates on their old, poor scoring credit report.
Although the credit report your applicant has given you might look like it’s legitimate and was pulled within a few days, it’s best not to risk it. As the algorithm used to calculate your applicant’s score depends on the purpose of the report (for example, for a car dealership vs. a bank loan), your rental applicant’s final credit score could be distinctly different. Not to mention, while scoring models like FICO™ and VantageScore 3.0 are widely used and trusted, other non-standardized scoring models are risky and unregulated.
Regardless of what reason a rental applicant gives you, do not accept a pre-pulled credit report from an applicant. That is why ApplyConnect® is a trusted source. The renter initiates a credit pull which is shared with the landlord or agent in a secured website. The renter has no control over the contents of their credit and background screening report. Best of all it is a soft pull (meaning no hard inquiry) so an excuse “it will hurt my credit score” goes out the window.
Have you encountered any fraudulent applicant documentation before? Let us know what tricks your applicants have tried to pull in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe!