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Tip #22: The Old Bait and Switch
Sinking shipTenant screening is like navigating through icebergs. Sometimes you see just the tip, but the real danger is underneath.
To detect applicant fraud you need to look for an emerging pattern -something that feels out of place, and that makes you think there may be more.
Someone with horrible credit can rehabilitate in one easy step – give you a fake Social Security Number. The number probably exists, it’s just not theirs.
Surprisingly, many fraudulent applicants are not that smart. Maybe they’ve glossed over some past indiscretions with false information, but they didn’t bother with the details. Like stealing a Social Security Number but not knowing where they are supposed to be from.
Look at the address history of the tenant, or ask them casually about their hometown. Then cross-check that information against this list of SSN states-of-origin chart provided by the government. If your California native has an Ohio SSN, someone’s got some explaining to do.
If there’s a discrepancy, you can ask the applicant why. It may be nothing, or it may be a sign that there’s a problem lurking just under the surface.
See last week’s Landlord Quick TipDo you have a tip to share with other landlords? Contact our editor at [email protected].

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