Welcome to 2020! With a New Year comes new ways for criminals try to engage in Identity Fraud. It is important to be aware of these criminals and stay ahead so you do not find yourself a victim. Specifically, so with property managers and Landlords- you are a greater risk than consumers who do not own rental property or have property management experience.
According to a recent report published in October 2019 by www.Corelogic.com, a real estate data firm ; there is an increase in the number of rental applicants who are using fake identities to secure leases. The report indicates several reasons for the use of fake identities such as tenants trying to live rent free until evicted, hiding poor credit, criminal history, or other characteristics that would make a rental application unfavorable. There are Four types of Fraud that Landlords and Property Managers should look out for:
- Synthetic Identity Fraud: This is where an applicant creates an entirely new fake identity from multiple stolen sources, with made up information, or with a combination of both
- First Person Fraud: The person who applies for the lease uses his real identity; however, he is not the person who moves in.
- Third Party Fraud: The person who applies for the lease is using a stolen identity.
- Identity Manipulation Fraud: The applicant slightly changes some information, such as changing a birthdate to make matching the applicant difficult with his true identity.
Another helpful tip is to check your credit file at least once a year to make sure there are no additional open accounts under your name created unlawfully . Additionally, if you have credit accounts that have not been used and have a large credit limit, ask for a reduction in your credit line or close the account. A high credit line that has been unused for an extended period is a very easy target for a Fraudster. There are many areas available for Free to pull your credit report, such as www.myfreecreditreport.com.
It is always a good idea to check with your property management firm to ensure the firm is using up to date technology to manage applicants so you are protected. And lastly, if you are a landlord, it is always a good idea to consult with an attorney to make sure the application being used is also update to date to help avoid criminals and proper steps are in place to protect your property.