How to Spot Fake Paystubs and Check Stubs: 4 Simple Tips

More than ever, it’s essential to remain vigilant for fraudulent information and thoroughly renters or borrowers who must provide proper proof of their ability to pay. Income verification is a necessary part of communication for owners, banks, and other financial firms seeking candidates who can make the monthly payment. 

Unfortunately, the documents that are requested can be fake. Checkstubs, paystubs, and similar documents can be forged online using paid tools, free software, and advanced editing techniques. Online pay stub generators can also be used to create paystubs and check stubs.

 However, while these paystubs and check stubs may look official at first glance, they often contain minor errors that make it clear that they are illegal. 

Here are four easy ways to spot fake paystubs.

Fake paystubs can look very similar to the real thing or be unprofessional. Some fake paystubs can be made with quick editing and word processing software, while others will be hard to spot.

1. Unreal numbers.

By forging paystubs and check stubs, people may not think twice about putting in unrealistic income numbers. For example, have you seen a person’s month-to-month income be perfectly round? That’s almost impossible, especially after taxes that the employer should pay. It is the first sign of falsification that you should pay attention to. If you see $5,000 of income a month, ask for additional proof of earnings. You may have a fraudster in front of you.

2. Illogical information.

Pay attention to mathematical calculations such as tax deductions, bonuses, or state income tax deductions. Professionals and payroll software often do these calculations, so errors here are another good indicator of fraud. In addition, you may notice that the total annual income reported on the paystub is less than the monthly income. It is illogical and unrealistic information.

In addition, someone who doesn’t know the basics of accounting can put zeros in the tax deduction sections.

As for check stubs, note the numbering. Different checks cannot have the same number.

3. Errors.

An experienced accountant will never mix the number “0” with the letter “O” nor make a mistake in an employee’s name, the position, company name, or legal form. 

Fake paystubs and check stubs may have missing information that, instead, must be there. We are talking about, for example, the date of the document, the payroll period, or the company’s address.

4. Unprofessionalism.

Professionally drafted documents look perfect, contain no typos, and use the same font, alignment, and other tools to make the document look official.

Text displacement or blurring will be an obvious sign of forgery. It can be especially noticeable in the number fields. A different font for numbers, for instance, will mean that someone has made ill-conceived and sloppy adjustments to the correct information by changing it.

The information in the paystub may also not match other documents you may request. It applies, for example, to forms W-2 and 1099 or any other form that contains information about an applicant’s income.

A Paystub generator is often used to simplify making paystubs. This program is designed for employers and employees, whether self-employed or employed by a company. Unfortunately, it can be used both legally and to create fake documents. It does not mean that online payment receipt generators are to blame. It’s just that people use them for fraudulent purposes. Some of you may wonder why such a service even exists. The paystub generator service itself has merit in that it serves the small business owners and freelancers who do not receive paystubs because of the nature of their work. They are still required to show paystubs to rent and get various loans.

Of course, the above instances of document errors are not indicative of 100 percent fraud. However, after bringing such inaccuracies to your attention, the bank, finance company, or owner should take steps to obtain additional proof of a person’s ability to pay.

How to check?

Other documents are required when using paystubs or checks with verification. The information must be consistent across all documents. If the information on the paystub does not match the information on the application or other supporting documents, it is an indication that the paystub is fake.

1. Form W-2. It contains detailed information about how much the person earned in the previous year and how much his employer withheld. It also includes other information you need for the tax return. Every employer who worked with the person during the last year sends him a Form W-2.

2. Form 1099. This report holds information about the amount of money an independent contractor received for work and services.

3. You can verify employment by asking the employer for information about the employee. It will confirm both the person’s job and the amount of his annual income.

Regardless of what type of document you get, check the listed place of employment. This basic check can ensure that the business is real and the applicant is working there. Ask the potential applicant about contacting their current employer. If the renter refuses, that’s a signal that something may be wrong. If their paystub lists a company that your prospective renter says you are not allowed to contact, there is an excellent chance that the employer has never heard of this person.

Either way, trust your intuition. If the documents you receive do not give you credibility, it is better to refuse to cooperate with this person. 

The consequences of using fake paystubs and check stubs.

Generally, you have few options for further action if you discover that an applicant has faked proof of income other than rejecting their application. Although it is illegal to provide fake paystubs as proof of income, it is unlikely that you will charge the person for this action or deal with the issue of prosecuting them.

If you discover the forged documents after using them to give a loan, you have the right to hold the person responsible and seek damages in court. 

If the person who provided the paystubs or check stubs discovers that they made a mistake, they must correct it. Unfortunately, it is not always easy.


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