News10NBC Investigates: Renters trying to use fake pay stubs

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester-area landlords and property managers who are already struggling to keep up with bills through the pandemic are now being targeted by prospective tenants, trying to use fake pay stubs to get their foot in the door of a new apartment.

“I’ve had people in eviction prior to COVID that we still can’t get out just because the courts aren’t hearing the cases and they’re not moving forward,” Dan LaRocco, the Property Manager for Roc City Leasing, said.

It’s been a long year for a lot of landlords and they’re facing a new problem.

“We’re seeing it now in about one out of every five applicants,” LaRocco said regarding apartment seekers who are providing fake or doctored pay stubs.

“They’re even using like an ADP symbol on it,” LaRocco explained.

Normally a missing line item in the tax deduction section or an hourly rate that seems excessively high for the job, is a give-away.

There are a number of websites where these fake pay stubs can be created for minimal cost. The sites claim it’s not illegal to make them, which is true, but it is illegal to use them to try to secure a loan.

The prospective tenants are so desperate to get into the door of a new place, they’re also providing names and telephone numbers of people who they say are their managers who can confirm the pay stubs.

LaRocco says they normally find the direct number to the alleged employer and call for confirmation on their own.

So, why not just stick to a credit check instead?

“We realize that some people may not have the best credit, but if they’re working hard and trying to rebuild their credit we’ll give them a shot at an apartment… as long as everything checks out… my biggest concern is OK, we’re a big outfit, we have a lot of rental units, we have the resources to really delve into this and find out if it’s real or not but the mom and pop that may have one property or two properties they don’t know that the pay stub is fake, they may rent to somebody and then that person immediately will start falling behind on rent and that will hurt them bad,” LaRocco warned.