Fake Paychecks 101: How to Spot Fake Paychecks Like a Pro

Research has found that one in 12 paychecks are fake or falsified in some way.

Because of this, we must know how to determine the fake paychecks from real ones to avoid getting scammed.

Not sure how to check whether you’ve been sent fake paychecks? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you need to know.

Is the Amount Perfectly Rounded?

One way to check whether your pay stub is fake is by seeing if the number is perfectly rounded to the nearest hundred or thousand.

Genuine pay stubs are created by professionals who care about recording every cent. Because of this, most paychecks never come to a rounded number.

If you notice an extensive number of paystubs end in zeros, make sure you’re not dealing with a fake.

Does the Paycheck Look Professional?

Professionals use a paystub generator like paystubs.net. This is to ensure the documents are clear so the recipient can decipher the amount written on the paystub.

A telltale sign of fake paychecks stubs is if it’s unclear, illegible, and the characters aren’t properly lined up.

Is There a Difference Between Zeroes and O’s?

When evaluating whether the paystub is fake, see if there’s a difference between the capital letter “O” or the number “0”.

Zeroes are slightly taller, narrower, and oval-shaped compared to the capital “O” which is more rounded. You should also look out for a line going through the zero.

Professional accountants would never make this type of error so if this is present, it’s a good indicator the paystub is fake.

Is Basic Information Consistent?

One of the easiest ways to spot a fake paystub is by checking the basic information listed. There should be the person’s name, date of birth, occupation, marital status, social security number, gross pay, taxes, and insurance deductions.

The details shouldn’t be printed in a fancy font or display misaligned data. All details should match and there shouldn’t be any spelling errors.

A genuine pay stub automatically enters the employee’s information as it’s linked to the company’s system to avoid errors. Plus, if the pay stub is made from low-quality paper, it’s a clear fake.

Do the Digits and Decimals Line Up?

When accountants create paystubs, they ensure all digits and decimals line up consistently throughout the paystub so there’s no error or confusion.

Fake paychecks look like they’ve been created on Microsoft Word while a real paystub will be produced on legitimate accounting software.

Do the Figures Add Up?

Use a calculator to check whether the figures add up. For instance, work out the earnings and deductions on the pay stub.

If there’s incorrect mathematics which the person can’t justify, the pay stub is fake.

Are there Bank Statements to Back Up the Paystub?

Confirm that the salary or wages on the pay stub are correct by asking for a bank statement.

Plus, this should tell you the name of the company paying them so you can check up on that too. If any of the information is different or they’re unwilling to share information, don’t accept the fake pay stub.

Compare to Legitimate Pay Stubs

If you have a legitimate pay stub nearby, judge it against a potentially fake one. Compare the paystubs side by side to ensure they are of similar quality.

Notice whether lines add up on both and compare the ink quality. If there’s an obvious difference, it’s most likely a fake pay stub.

Contact Current and Previous Employers

The easiest way to determine whether you’re getting scammed is by asking if you can call their employer to verify the pay stub. If they refuse to let you call their employer, it’s most likely that the pay stub is fake.

If this is the case, it’s almost certain they’ve given you false employment details too.

Verify the Applicant’s W2

Along with the pay stub, the applicant may also submit fake documents if they don’t meet the criteria. A fantastic way to glean whether the application is false is by verifying their W2.

Here’s how to spot a fake W2, for example:

Give It a Thorough Once-Over

Like you’ve done with the potentially fake pay stub, follow the same procedure. If the W2 is blurry, the figures don’t add up, and if their address differs from the one stated on the pay stub, the W2 is fake. Always be on the lookout for inconsistencies.

Research the Company Stated

You can determine whether the W2 is false is by checking the form that comes from a real company. Check out the company and follow your instincts.

If your search pulls up a real company, decide whether they feel genuine. Check whether their website looks credible and consider the information about what the company does. When these have been verified, then the company checks out.

Verify the Applicant’s Employment Status

The final way to verify a W2 is by calling up the company so they can vouch for the applicant.

Whether it’s for a job or tenant, you must always ask for references during any application process.

References help you build a more detailed character profile of the applicant so ask for an office number and address instead of a telephone number, so you’re not just speaking to the applicant’s friend.

When you do this, applicants are less likely to produce fake paychecks or W2 forms.

That’s How to Catch Out Fake Paychecks

Now you know what fake paychecks look like and how they differ from legitimate ones.

Focus on the paystub’s appearance, whether the math works out, and verify all information with the applicant’s reference. Following the above ensures you aren’t being scammed so you know it’s a legitimate paystub. Good luck!

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