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Frankenstein’s Monster and Synthetic Identities: What Landlords Need to Know

As a landlord, you’re always on the lookout for potential tenants who might cause you problems down
the road. You might think you’ve gotten pretty good at spotting red flags, but there’s one type of tenant
that can be difficult to identify: the synthetic identity.

Synthetic identities are created when someone combines real and fake information to create a new
identity. This can be done for a variety of reasons, but synthetic identities are often used by criminals to
commit fraud. For example, a synthetic identity might be used to open a new credit card account and
run up a huge balance that the real person behind the identity will never have to pay back or even to
apply for a lease of an apartment or house.

How Synthetic Identities Are Similar to Frankenstein’s Monster

While synthetic identities might not be quite as horrifying as Frankenstein’s monster, there are some
similarities between the two. Like Frankenstein’s monster, synthetic identities are often created with
the intention of causing harm. Also, like Frankenstein’s monster, synthetic identities can be very difficult
to stop once they’ve been created. Just as Frankenstein’s monster went on a rampage despite
Frankenstein’s best efforts to control it, synthetic identities can wreak havoc on your finances and your
reputation as a landlord if you’re not careful.

How Landlords Can Protect Themselves from Synthetic Identities

The best way to protect yourself from synthetic identities is to screen your tenants carefully. This means
requiring all potential tenants to provide several forms of identification, such as a driver’s license,
passport, or birth certificate. You should also run a credit check on all potential tenants (even if they
don’t have any credit history) and verify their employment status. By taking these precautions, you’ll be
able to weed out most synthetic identities before they have a chance to cause any damage.
While synthetic identities can be difficult to spot, there are some steps you can take as a landlord to
protect yourself from them. By screening potential tenants carefully and running credit checks, you can
minimize the chances of renting to someone with a synthetic identity. So don’t be afraid to ask for
additional documentation from your potential tenants—it could end up saving you a lot of headaches
(and money) in the long run.