Online Fraud Has Property Managers Worried

The increase in online rental applications has prompted more property managers to become concerned over identity theft and online fraud, according to the results of a new survey by TransUnion of 163 property managers who manage more than 500 rental units nationwide.

Over 56 percent of property managers surveyed say they’ve seen an increase in online applications in the past year. Nearly 70 percent of respondents reported concerns about identity theft and online fraud. What’s more, nearly four in 10 property managers surveyed say they are not confident about the accuracy of residents’ application information.

“In today’s online and mobile era, residents expect quick approvals and smooth application processes, but property managers must remain cognizant of the potential fraud threat,” says Mike Doherty, senior vice president of TransUnion’s Rental Screening Solutions Group. “Online rental application fraud is a growing problem. In order to quickly approve good residents, property managers must arm themselves with solutions that provide greater certainty and verify identities online and detect potentially fraudulent applicants.”

Property managers ranked income and employment information as the most important techniques for screening prospective residents, followed by criminal background checks, rental and eviction history and credit history, according to the survey.

“Credit history, prior rental payments and other screening techniques allow property managers to make smarter and better objective decisions on leasing to prospective residents,” says Doherty. “As an emerging issue in the multi-family industry, property managers should pay additional attention to their online fraud and identity theft protocols to protect their business while allowing strong applicants through the rental application process faster.”