You got some good answers already. You win some, you lose some, from time to time, as good as you screen, bad ones get through.
Besides getting all the necessary reports, credit, employment, eviction etc, I do all the interviews myself, and I watch for body language for inconsistencies etc.
A well dressed 50ish women banker came by, wanted a 2BR for herself. We screen by phone first with a friendly chat, not like an interview. Wife asks if she’ll have regular visitors. Answer: “Yes, my only daughter who just graduated medical school, and I’m awfully proud of her”.
When she came in person I asked her the same question and the answer? "“Yes, my only SON who just graduated medical school, and I’m awfully proud of him”.
We usually call to confirm employment, so I called the work number provided, left a message, she called back, and requested the number for personnel. Said it’s a small office, and gave me the number of her supervisor, I called back, and a nice gentlemen confirmed the salary, excellent employee, yada yayda. Still suspicious, I said to myself “let me check further”.
Knew someone who worked at the bank, and was provided the number of Corporate Personnel. Procedure is to call between 9:00AM and 11:00AM, provide a social security #. They’ll confirm if she works there, or ever worked there.
We called, and was told no record of her exists, either working there, or ever worked there with that number.
Called my friend back, he checked the corporate directlory, and tells me the bank does not even have a location listed as her place of business.
Called the lady back and told her we have trouble confirming info. Her answer “you don’t have to rent to me”.
One trick I learned years back is people use answering services for home and business numbers which she evidently used here. One way to check in the bigger cities like NYC is to see if the telephone exchange matches the locality of the job or home from the phone book. Another direct way is look up info in the phonebook, or call directory assistance even if you’re told that person has an unlisted number there.
Might be a different ballgame with VIOP nowadays.
A nice couple came by with a young child, and would have his brother living there sharing expenses. Credit reports turned out clean. We were going to run the reports first, if everything is clean, they’re our top candidate.
Problem was four or five addresses listed for the last five years. So the wife called and said “we have to clarify some info on the credit reports”. Usually this might mean they been evicted more than once, and moved from place to place.
But the answer we got instead was “I thought the credit repair service cleaned everything up”
We wife was on her toes and said “exactly what was supposed to be cleaned up??” They told us what was not supposed to be there, and sure enough it wasn’t there." But we heard enough to know their credit was horrible.
When she asked what was on the report, our reply was “the law says we can’t comment on it, but we can say they cleaned up quite a bit of it”.
The high priority is to rent to “easy to get along” types, not wiseguys, idiots, jerks etc.
My wife did the on site interview this time, and said the top candidate wanted to leave a deposit since he liked the place so much, and would I meet him as a favor to pick it up. I said I don’t want to make commitments, but I’ll take it on the condition I can return it. She said the man was polite, well spoken etc.
I met this man, and sensed that his politeness was just a facade, and the smile on his face was a false one. I learned a trick from a old boss to say something provocative at this point to see what happens. I said “you’re not one of those who’s going to have wild parties here, are you”??
His smile went away instantly, his face flushed red, and replied “who’s holding wild parties”?? A moment later, realizing what happened, he smiled again.
Told the wife later that night that something’s not quite right with this guy, and we should mail the $50.00 back immediately. When we called, he ranted, cursed, and said he’ll come by to kill us. Not the polite person he tried to portray.
The wife wanted to know how I knew his true character. I said his smile didn’t quite look right, his politeness seemed contrived and it’s really a very angry person underneath.
I have quite a number of these experiences through the years with scamsters.