Whilst fraudsters are finding new and more technologically advanced methods to avoid detection, they're still no match for Homeppl.
Our unique technology can detect 100% of fraudulent applications and one of the most significant elements of our technology stack is our document analysis. It is commonplace to require a bank statement or a payslip when seeking to rent a property in the UK during the tenant screening process. It's essential that the tenant can actually afford the property and not trying to sublet it for a profit. Did you know that 5% of properties in the UK are rented to fraudsters in 2022? This is due to a subpar standard of referencing and a longstanding lack of adequate verification in the rental industry.
This is not just an issue in the rental market. Those applying for mortgages, loans, or a new bank account will also likely be requested to provide bank statements three months prior to the point of application.
How we detect fake bank statements and fake payslips
The first and most telling sign of a fake bank statement is its appearance. Inconsistencies in fonts, text size and even the bank's logos are modifications we regularly detect. Fraudsters tend to get careless with these details, so it is essential to look out for them as this is your first warning sign.
The font and font sizes used across an original bank statement will remain consistent. Furthermore, the document's resolution is vital; when modifying a bank statement, the quality will tend to decrease, which is significant to look out for.
However, scanning a document with the naked eye is not enough these days. You can look in detail at the bank logo for instance and not spot anything wrong. Homeppl have digital image X-ray technology that can tell when an image or new text has been layered over an original source.
Authentic bank statements will only have one document layer
Our fraud prevention software picked up that this particular bank statement had 7 different fonts which were clearly different to the ones used on typical HSBC bank statements. It had a number of layers placed over the original statement issued by HSBC.
We also found that the software used to edit the bank statement was an application called CorelDraw (We can pick this up from the metadata of the statement or payslip).
On this particular statement, the barcode in the top left hand of the statement did not match the original address this barcode was assigned (yep, we can decode that too!).
Amateur v advanced document forgeries
Another telling sign is whether the numbers and icons on the page are aligned correctly and consistently, which they should be if issued by a bank.
We've written quite extensively on the different types of tenancy fraudsters that are currently in operation across Europe. You have cases of both amateur and professional document modification.
For instance, with the amateur falsifications on a bank statement, classic errors in the numbers can ben identified.Withdrawals, deposits and transactions should all obviously add up and correspond with the corresponding values on the statement and you'd be surprised how many times they don't. People seeking to create fake payslips and statements become complacent with this or tend to make mistakes with the numbers when they modify them.
It's quite common that edits are usually made to show rounded-off numbers which is obviously rare.
As we've already seen, when verifying a bank statement, Homeppl will also run a font analysis test to detect any modifications. We've come across many instances where a single month or bank account balance has been altered to hide real income levels or to fake a payment date. However, common online editors such as ILovePDF or Adobe may not always have the same fonts as mainstream banks and even the slightest difference will fail the font analysis test.
Each different colour represents a different font detected. We can see here that Metro Bank's email address has been poorly doctored as has many of the entries on the account summary table which displays different fonts. This bank statement also includes terrible spelling mistakes!
It is critical to use technology that is able to detect a fake document; especially as fraudsters are becoming more digital savvy. It's not just bank statements we can verify, no our digital ID verification technology can assess the authenticity of passports, payslips, utility bills and other proof of residency/income documents.
Standard tenant qualification practices aren't enough anymore. With Homeppl's document analysis technology, we detect 100% of fraud in documents submitted to our checks.