What is Skip Tracing? All You Should Know

What is a Skip Tracer

A common first step when a customer fails to pay for goods or services is to contact them about the unpaid bill. The problem arises, though, when a client vanishes without a trace. Debt recovery businesses employ various techniques to recover debt more quickly and overcome frequent payment difficulties. Skip tracing is one of the methods used in this type of investigation.

What is Skip Tracing?

The term “skip tracing” comes from the practice of identifying a debtor who has “skipped” or “gone out of town.”

These methods come in handy when the debtor refuses to reply to calls or emails despite numerous attempts.

The person they’re looking for no longer may live there despite having an actual address.

Most of the time, the problem of “undeliverable as addressed” mail comes from people who move to a new address and either don’t provide a forwarding address or leave a wrong address.

So there is no way to warn the client and allow them to pay off the debt before it harms their credit score. Consequently, skip tracing is often utilized by lawyers and police, as well as by reporters and bail bond agents, in addition to debt recovery agents.

The term “bounty hunting” is occasionally misused to describe skip tracing.

However, because bounty hunters regularly engage skip tracers, the two processes may be mistakenly thought interchangeable.

Who uses skip-Tracing Strategies?

It is not uncommon for debt collectors to employ skip tracing as a strategy in their efforts to collect. Skip tracing may be used by a debt collection firm to track down an uncooperative debtor and collect payment.

When tracking down a difficult-to-find debtor, debt collection companies are better equipped than you since they have more time and resources to dedicate to the task. The practice of skip tracing is also used by investigators, private detectives, journalists, and attorneys.

Is Skip Tracing Really Necessary?

Sometimes you need to use skip-tracing to locate an unpaying client who has vanished without a trace. Skip tracing, on the other hand, isn’t always required. There are instances when you’ll be able to find out what you need to know by yourself.

Since most information is now available online, skip tracing has become a lot easier. A skip trace’s initial stages can be completed entirely by using search engines and social media platforms. There are occasions when you can conduct your own skip tracing and there are instances when you need the help of an expert.

Where Do You Start When You’re Doing a Skip Trace?

In the event that skip tracing is required, the steps listed below are usually followed.

#1. Your Debtor’s Information Is Verified by Your Skip Tracer

If you haven’t heard from a debtor, it’s conceivable that you don’t have their correct contact information. The first step in skip tracing is to verify the debtor’s contact details.

A skip tracer might be able to quickly locate the correct contact information, in which case you can get in touch with the debtor and demand payment.

#2. Your Skip Tracer Gathers Information on the Debtor That Is Readily Available to the Public

There are some people who don’t want to spend time searching through databases of information to see if they can locate useful information on a particular subject. There is an option for those who don’t enjoy the time-consuming and often tedious task of tracing the whereabouts of someone.

You can find out more about your debtor by checking public records, such as the following:

  • A list of previous addresses
  • History of travel
  • Documents pertaining to the case
  • Applicants for credit cards
  • Information pertaining to one’s credit
  • Background checks and criminal records
  • History of license suspensions and renewals
  • Curriculum vitae and job applications
  • Applications for loans and their history
  • Information pertaining to phone numbers
  • Internet sleuthing tools
  • Internet-based social networking
  • It’s a good idea to keep track of
  • Utility charges
  • History of the automobile

If your skip tracer has access to these documents, they may be able to put the pieces together and locate your debtor. However, if those efforts are in vain, they may resort to other options.

#3. The Debtor’s Relatives and Acquaintances Are Contacted by Your Skip Tracer

However, friends and family members may not always be willing to help in the search for debtors, even when it is in the best interest of the debtor (and should never be forced to do so against their will).

The debtor’s present and prior landlords, neighbors, or coworkers may be able to aid if friends and family aren’t. These people may be able to provide information on the location of the debtor.

How Do I Hire a Skip Tracer?

You can save money by choosing an independent skip tracing service rather than an agency that provides this service.

Instead of charging an hourly rate for skip tracing services, some cluster agencies work on a contingency fee basis, which means they don’t get paid until the money is collected.

In order to determine which skip tracers and collection agencies are best suited to your needs in order to recover a late payment, you need to do your homework before hiring a skip tracer or agency.

What Is the Process of Skip Tracing?

It’s all about data in skip tracing. Useful information is collected and verified. People can be found by finding clues and following the trail they left behind. Debt collectors and private investigators are the most common perpetrators.

When you employ a private investigator, the first step is to tell the investigator everything you know about the person you want to find. You’ll be asked a lot of questions by your investigator to fill in any gaps in their information. Give this information as openly as you can. You have a better chance of finding the person you’re looking for if you’re more open and honest.

To begin the investigation, your private investigator will examine the facts you provide to determine the most effective strategy. They are going to employ specialized information sources to learn more about the person’s life. Eventually, a story or pattern will emerge, and they will be able to go deeper into the investigation.

Skip tracing works, but it requires patience and persistence. Many people can’t be located, but not everyone.

How to Be an Effective Skip Tracer

Every possible lead on an individual’s whereabouts must be chased down by a skilled skip tracer when working on a case.

Those who are good skip tracers are specialists in obtaining information about a target or a missing person and leave no stone unturned. If you want to be a successful skip tracer, you’ll need to network with other professionals in the area, such as bail bond companies, jail, and court staff, public information officers, bounty hunters, and private detectives, among others.

Skip Tracing Techniques

If you want to skip-trace someone, there are several places you may look for that information. Listed below are some of the most well-known sources of information.


Everyone in a person’s social circle, professional network, and neighborhood have the potential to be privy to their current whereabouts. Getting information from this group is challenging, but it can bring you right to your goal without requiring any further skip tracing operations. It’s a win-win.

Caller ID

Send a letter to all of the person’s known addresses informing them that you need to speak with them and including a phone number where they may be reached. You can use www.411.com to perform a reverse phone search to learn the person’s current address if they ever call your number out of the blue just to see if it’s still in service.

Corporate Filings

A company’s officers’ residences might be revealed in corporate filings kept by the secretary of state.

It’s possible that a criminal search will uncover the person’s incarceration or parole status.

Director Assistance

A disconnected phone line doesn’t mean you can’t use the directory assistance service to find other listings in the area that have the same last name.

Fraternal Organizations

Many long-time members of fraternal organizations will not want to end their association with the group and thus will continue to furnish the group with their most up-to-date contact information.

Postal Service Change of Address

A blank envelope with the stamp: Do Not Forward – Address Correction Requested should be mailed to the target’s last known address. It is expected that the postal service returns the envelope to its sender with a label that provides the recipient’s forwarding address. Of course, if the individual has provided the postal service with a forwarding address, this method is applicable.

Professional Licenses

Individuals with state-issued certifications should have contact information available to them in order to continue using their credentials.

Reverse Telephone Directories

There are phone directories that return an address for a phone number that has been entered. These directories do not include information on phone numbers that are not listed. www.411.com is a good example of a reverse directory.

In the modern world, the term “search engine”
Try searching for the person’s name using quotation marks and see if any results come up. If the person has just left town, it is less likely that you will get valuable information in a general search like this one.

Search Engine

This information can be found in both online and printed telephone directories but is more likely to be found on landlines.

Telephone Listing

If the individual has recently resided with another person, undertake a search for that person. If the target has returned to the third party, this could be a red flag for you.

Third-Party Trace

Vehicle registration information can be used to locate the owner’s address, although the information may be out-of-date depending on how regularly the data is updated.

Vehicle Registrations

The city government keeps a list of all the people who have registered to vote, including their names, addresses, and dates of birth. In some cases, this information may have to be accessed face-to-face.


To put it simply, there is a massive amount of information that may be used to locate a person and his or her assets. The problem with a lot of this data is that it’s out of date already.

Asset ownership records, in particular, are more likely to be out-of-date since they only include information that was accurate at the time of the asset’s transfer; subsequent information changes may not be listed. In addition, there is a high danger of confusion because so many names sound alike.

When searching for John Smith, you may have an abundance of data for the incorrect John Smith. Because much of this data was entered into databases via transcription, there is a danger that information was entered improperly during the data entry process. With so much information available, finding exactly what you’re looking for can be challenging.

What is a Skip Tracer FAQs

Why is it called skip tracer?

The term “skip tracing” comes from the practice of identifying a debtor who has “skipped” or “gone out of town.” These tools come in handy when the debtor refuses to reply to calls or emails despite numerous attempts.

Is a skip tracer the same as a bounty hunter?

To put it another way, bounty hunters can work as skip tracers, but skip tracers are not allowed to act as bounty hunters. Using skip tracing, both bail bondsmen and bounty hunters can discover who failed to appear in court.

What is skip trace banking?

It’s a procedure used to seek a debtor who has migrated or vanished to escape legal obligations, such as debt payments. In the process of skip-tracing, information on a debtor is verified by doing a search of public records and contacting people who know the debtor.

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