Do you think it's okay to exaggerate on your resume or job applications? No one will ever know, right? Think again!
My job is verifying employment, education and checking personal references. I am amazed at the number of people that lie about their education. Some people lie about graduating high school, other people lie about the degree received in college. Yes, we do check high schools. I've checked on the high school education of a person born in 1929. I wondered if he had to go back to work or if he wanted to.
People also lie about the time and the position worked in a company. I will never understand why people list a job in which they didn't even last a day. Why? It doesn't look good that you didn't last a day.
If you are asked for character references or personal references, my advice is to tell the person that you are using them. I've had several references who couldn't remember the person. Also, it seems like common sense, but make sure the person likes you. It doesn't help you when a character references has bad things to say about you.
So, the next time someone tells you that no one checks references, remember what you read here.