Everyone should have a state issued ID or driver’s license. Before you waste your time submitting a tenant screening, check the potential tenant’s identification. If they don’t have at least a photo ID, then proceed with caution. However, if their ID looks suspicious take a closer look at it.
Fake IDs and counterfeit social security cards might be harder to spot than you think. With high tech printers, special inks and websites focused on the production of forged personal documents obtaining a fake is quite easy.
Even if you aren’t suspicious it is always a good idea to do a thorough once over. Below you will find some helpful tips and tricks on spotting a fake!
1. Compare the physical description to the actual person
This may seem silly but matching the physical description is important and often times overlooked. Do the height, weight, hair color and eye color match? Does the picture look like the person you’ve met?
2. Note the expiration date
If the ID is expired it is NOT a legal form of ID. End of discussion. Make sure you ask potential applicants to provide you with a valid form of a state issued ID.
3. Compare the signature
Once someone has perfected their signature they tend to stick to it. If there are noticeable differences in the way a signature appears on their ID and on a document you have them sign, there might be cause for concern.
4. Is the ID issued from another state
Often times those who use fake IDs purposefully choose to have one made from a state they do not currently live in or a state they have never lived in. If you are from California chances are you won’t be familiar with an ID issued from North Dakota. It is always a good idea to have a current copy of a book containing images of ID issued in all 50 states.
5. Check for tampering
Does the ID feel heavier or lighter than yours? Are there air pockets in the lamination? Is the ink color slightly off? Does the state hologram flake off or are there holes in the images? If so… you might have just spotted a fake.
6. Does the address match
If the address is different on the ID than the one they provided on their application it is wise to ask for a current utility bill or pay stub. Often, people don’t get around to changing the address on their IDs and this makes for a convenient excuse for fakers. Asking for verification might help you eliminate some suspicion.
7. Look for differences in paper color an weight
When a perspective tenant gives you their social security card make sure the paper weight is comparative to yours. Check the color for what might look like fading. The paper should have what appears to look like tiny discs scattered across it.
8. Check the digits
Social security numbers should contain only 9 digits and appear in this pattern: XXX-XX-XXXX (3-2-4). If a social security number has multiple pairs of the same digits like 423.55.3333 it is likely not a real number. Multiples of the same digits in the same sequence of numbers are extremely rare. The numbers 666 and all zeros in any set of numbers will never be used—ever.
9. Raised lettering
Social security cards are printed so the letters are raised off the paper. If the card is smooth and has no rough texture—there is a chance it might be fake.
10. Maiden name
Does your applicant still use their maiden name? Or are they just claiming the name on their ID is different than the one you have on file because it is their maiden name? Many fake ID users will use this as an excuse for having listed multiple last names.
It is always a good idea to ask for a second form of ID. This could be as simple as comparing the name on an ID to one on a credit card or asking for a student ID or passport. And always, always run a background check on any prospective tenant.