Sites offering fake reference services continue to spring up, raising questions over whether the process is flawed from the outset, and whether it’s time to up the ante and background-check referees. According to background screening expert Jeff Wizceb, the process of signing up for a fake reference is easy and these sites are doing big business. Five tips for effective reference checking include: At interview stage confirm with the candidate who is the appropriate person to call. Do not rely on who is written on the resume; If the referee to call is not the person noted on the resume, ask the candidate why and ask for written permission to contact the referee; Ensure you identify the person you are talking to; never conduct reference checks on mobile telephone numbers; Ask the dates of employment, but be sure not to offer these yourself – get the referee to offer them. Ensure the questions are relevant and open-ended rather than those requiring ‘yes/no’ responses. You may need to do more than one reference check at a single organization to rule out any personal issues, ill-feeling between people, or importantly, a bona fide fake.