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Fraud Warning Triggers Up 30 Pct In Rental Housing Since March

A report from TransUnion finds that rental application fraud is on the rise amid the pandemic, according to a press release.

The release stated the amount of fraud triggers TransUnion has detected has shot up almost 30 percent from March to August.

Fraud triggers, the release noted, are defined as application statuses with failed authentications or which are labeled high risk. The number reached a high point of 15.2 percent in August. That’s up from 10.3 percent last year.

TransUnion, seeking to understand the impact on the multifamily rental housing industry, surveyed 82 officials in the industry in September, according to the release, finding that the amount of fraud incidents had shot up for 48 percent of respondents, and another 26 percent had experienced around 100 instances of said fraud.

Most of those respondents were able to flag the fraud before move-in, but 41 percent said they didn’t identify the fraud until after the applicant had already moved in. The release stated those instances did damage to the companies’ bottom lines. And, with recent volatility in the industry, two in three executives surveyed said they were worried about the growth of fraud in the future.

Maitri Johnson, vice president of TransUnion’s tenant and employment business, said in the release that fraud would continue to be a point of concern in the industry.

“As fraud evolves and fraudsters become more sophisticated in their techniques, fraud prevention strategies and solutions have become top of mind for industry insiders,” Johnson said, according to the release. “As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, 22 percent of respondents noted an identity verification or fraud solution has been implemented to help mitigate this growing issue.”

Fraud-related losses due to the pandemic reached about $100 million in August, according to data compiled by SocialCatfish.com, an identity verification nonprofit. The report found that scams related to the virus had doubled in many states.

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