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There are so many fake pay stubs out there. How can I tell a fake paystub from a real pay stub?

June 2, 2017

One of the challenges that lenders face with the rapid improvements in technology is being able to determine the difference between real pay stubs, like the ones created by Pay Stub Depot, and fake pay stubs created by cheap imitators. Ten years ago it was easy to tell a real paystub from a fake paystub. Today, not so much.

When an employer create a pay stub ten years ago they printed it on special paper that was folded up and glued closed with perforations which I tore off to see the paystub and to get to my pay check. Today with direct deposit and email, when employers create pay stubs they send a deposit to the bank and email the employee a password protected PDF file that the employee prints out on their printer at home. fake paystubThat saves the employers money, time, and effort, but it makes it hard to tell a fake paystub from a real paystub. Ten years ago when you got a fake paystub that was printed on yellow paper with smeared ink there was no question that it was fake pay stub. Today that's what my real pay stub looks like! Clearly, not all advances in technology are good things.

In some cases it's easy to tell the difference. When a line cook at a local restaurant comes in and shows you pay stubs showing that she earns $20,000 a month after taxes and she's trying to get a loan to buy a car for $15,000, you know that unless she lives with the owner of the restaurant and calls him daddy, she's lying through her teeth about her income. But a lot of people are more subtle than that, so here are some things that you can do to protect yourself.

First and foremost, look at the pay stubs that the loan applicant gives to you for obvious mistakes. Are the check numbers sequential for a local business with 30 or 40 employees? Unless that business has a checcking account for each individual employee, that's a definite red flag. Are the numbers lined up properly? Is the name of the employer misspelled? What about the dates? Do they look real or random? These items all indicate that the pay stub may not be real and many cheap, fake pay stubs aren't laid out properly.

Second, call the applicant's employer to verify their income and employment. Most employers won't verify how much they pay their employees, but they will verify the employee's dates of employment. Identify yourself and explain why you're calling and if the employee really works there the employer will be happy to help. Just don't ask the applicant for the employer's phone number, look it up online. Otherwise they can give you the phone number of a friend of theirs instead of the business's real phone number.

Don't forget to do the math. What are the withholding percentages? Are they close to yours? For federal and state withholding they won't be exactly the same as yours because the applicant can be claiming a different number of deducations than you're claiming, but they should be realistic.

Finally, check their financial statements and records. Ask them to give you a printout of their bank account, which will show you if they showed you real paystubs or fake paystubs. Ask them for a copy of their tax returns. And if you're loaning them a large sum of money, ask them to show you their W-2 forms too!

While there are fake paystubs out there and a lot of people are using them, if you follow this advice you won't be fooled by them! Pay Stub Depot's simple pay stubs look great and are fast and easy to make. Try our our online check stub maker today!

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