James says the police told him that they would issue a warrant ASAP and come back to arrest the fraudulent renters.
James says before the police were notified, he knocked on the residents’ door and told Jane Roe that he was aware that they had stolen someone’s identity to move in, and that he was planning to take the steps needed to have them arrested.
“You’d think that would scare them into leaving, but they are still there,” James said later that week [June 4].
On June 17, the identity thief was arrested and was released on signature bond the next day, James says. He adds that neither she nor her unauthorized occupants have come back to his property, although numerous belongings were left in the apartment.
“We are simply waiting for the marshals to execute the writ of eviction rather than taking the possession of the apartment,” says James.
“Sadly, my guess is that these folks have already moved into another apartment community in our area, quite possibly under another false identity,” says James.
His prediction is based on the fact that the manager of Centra Villa recently saw them at a local gas station.
Fellow Atlanta-area apartment owner Brent Sobol says he has experienced such a scam, too.
Sobol says that persons (potential residents) are legally able to purchase “stolen” pay stubs through local and online “paper mills.”
These stubs are not hard to come by, Sobol says, as he recently confiscated a sign hanging on a street corner in his area advertising such.
Crime Does ‘Pay’
Sobol says a crime does not occur until the person fraudulently uses the “fake” pay stub in transactions such as filling out a rental application. google Sobol says he, too, has contacted the police about residents who had used fake identities and those residents were subsequently arrested.
In October 2012, Sobol wrote, “How to Spot a Fake” for units Magazine that lists 27 things “street savvy” apartment managers should be aware of when screening applicants. “I still get a call every month or so about it from someone who comes across my post,” Sobol says. “They tell me, ‘That was my experience, too!’ or, ‘I had no idea people were actually doing that. Thank you!’”
Sobol, who periodically travels around the country to speak about crime prevention, says he realizes this problem is everywhere—and not just in Atlanta’s Zone 4 area—in which Sobol and James operate properties.
“As Americans in an increasingly crazed society, we all want to be told what we want to hear, all the time,” Sobol says, “even if it means being lied to. So, most managers just accept the paper that is in front of them to keep their occupancy high and do not realize the nearsightedness of this attitude.”
Sobol says that a few months later he dialed the number listed on the sign he confiscated and it still works.
*This article originally appeared in the October 2015 edition of units Magazine