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Honesty is the best policy when it comes to mortgage applications, but it seems the message is lost on roughly one in four Millennials in Canada.

Close to 23 percent of Millennials say it’s acceptable to lie about your income to make it seem higher on a mortgage application, according to a survey commissioned by credit-rating agency Equifax Canada.

And 19 percent of Millennials surveyed say they have gone ahead and lied on a credit or loan application, far beyond the national average for all age groups, which was 12 percent.

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Not only did a substantial share of the cohort admit to being dishonest with paperwork — 23 percent of Millennials consider mortgage fraud a “victimless crime,” which Equifax defines as “a legal offense to which all parties consent and no party is injured.”

“It’s concerning that so many younger adults we surveyed believe it’s OK to inflate their income to purchase the home they want,” says Julie Kuzmic, director of consumer advocacy for Equifax Canada, which commissioned pollsters Leger to conduct an online survey of 1,545 Canadians.

Most respondents agreed mortgage fraud was a growing problem, and Kuzmic outlines some of the risks involved with the nefarious practice.

“Fudging income numbers when completing a mortgage application is fraud. It also becomes a slippery slope for these people who may end up stretching themselves too thin,” Kuzmic continues.

Kuzmic notes that falling behind on mortgage payments could harm your credit rating — or worse.

“What some may see as a little white lie during the mortgage application process could have legal consequences or become a very hard lesson for people to learn if they cannot keep up with their mortgage payments,” she says.

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