Reference checks are an important component of checking background information on prospective tenants. There are several standard guidelines to follow when checking references.
1. Insist that friends or family not be given as a reference. The odds of family and friends giving objective, truthful commentary is very low.
2. Verify every information collected in the interests of uncovering lies and embellishments.
3. If they are not currently employed but insist they can show tons of money in their bank account, move on - find someone else. Someone with thousands today could have only pennies tomorrow.
4. If they are independent contractors or self-employed, ask to see tax returns from previous years. If they refuse or delay, look elsewhere.
5. Try to substantiate phone numbers by using reverse 411. For instance if a phone number is given as a place of business, look it up on reverse 411 to make sure it is indeed the number of the business stated.