Paystubs can be verified. When paystubs are used as proof of income and/or submitted with an application. It would reason that the recipient of this information has a method or system in place to verify the information that has been provided.
They do this to protect themselves and lower their default rates. When you look at it from the side of the recipient. Having a system in place to verify the applicant's ability to repay is a rather standard business practice. It’s called Verification of Employment or VOE for short.
The systems they have in place to facilitate VOE rely heavily on person-to-person contact and are supplemented with databases. Often the company sends the application to a verification service, which assigns the application to a specialist. This specialist's job is to follow the paper trail to verify the information provided and ultimately the paystub.
How does the verification process work?
The specialist will start by researching the company listed on the paystub. They will check common directories and business listings to gather information on how long the business has been around, ownership, reported income, suppliers, customers, and other useful facts. They will also use special databases that provide them with reports on the business activity and public filings the business may have made.
Once the specialist has gathered the basic information about the company listed they will then reach out using the phone numbers they found during research. The specialist places a call, with the intent of first verifying the business is real ie answering service, directory, or secretary.
Then they are looking to speak with the person who handles human resources. Human resources managers are usually limited to the information they can provide. In fact, in certain states, they are required to have written authorization from the employee to respond to verification of employment requests.
HR managers know that employees submit paystubs to landlords, car dealerships etc, and usually try to respond to requests in a timely manner. In this case the person responsible for handling VOE requests may only confirm or deny what the specialist asks in lieu of giving actual figures.
Read: How long to keep your paystubs
Very often the specialist are able to sniff out fake paystubs and fraud by comparing the information they found versus the information listed on the paystub.
This may seem simple but it’s common for them to flag a paystub over the spelling of the company’s name. During their research, they locate the company’s original filing documents. These filings represent the legal spelling of the company’s name. When they review a paystub and it has the shorthand spelling of the company’s name it’s an immediate red flag.
The same flag is raised when the address on the paystub is not the full address, only the street and zip.
Other red flags are zeros and letters O’s that are shaped the same. Unrealistic hourly pay figures for the position, even numbers, the list goes on and on. The specialist is usually well-trained to catch the tell-tell signs of fake paystubs.
As you can tell from this process, it’s not common for your actual pay stub to be verified. Although there is nothing stopping the specialist from emailing the actual paystub for a confirmation from the person responsible for HR, it’s unlikely. It’s the information represented on your pay stub that is verified.
Read: The ultimate guide to paystub templates