The "procedure" is to verify you're dealing with the real owner!
To be safe - ask a local agent to make sure the name you're given IS the owner.....and , as Tim pointed out, make sure it isn't a scam.
Did they say the home is vacant, and no one can show it to you in person? (don't be fooled if they have photos - scammers hijack photos from the real listings)
Do they have some sort of story as to why they are out of state? (did they say they are thankful to have found you, because all they want is someone to love and take good care of their home? They can be very creative!)
Did they ask you to share any personal information - fill out an "application"?
Have they asked you to wire money for the keys?
most of all, and the biggest red flag is...........
Does it sound TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE? (rent seems too low???) - well, that's because it isn't true!
If "yes" to most or all of the above.............run in the opposite direction - it's a scam!