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Full Guide on Skip Tracing

Posted on by Dawna M. Roberts in LawJanuary 23, 2023

No situation is what it seems on the outside; contractors, freelancers, and service providers know this adage too well. In the best circumstances, you provide a service and are compensated through one or multiple payments. On the other hand, in the worst circumstances, you provide a service and never receive payment. In cases like this, consider taking the unpaid charges to collectors; they then have the job of collecting those monies. Sometimes, however, this is made difficult, not because of a refusal to pay but because the debtor has run.

In modernity, the best way to track down someone who doesn’t want to be found is to trace them. Skip tracing is how professionals track and find their debtors. Anyone can do tracing in a wide variety of manners, and tracers can take information from many sources. There may be limited information available, which impacts the time it takes to find someone’s whereabouts; it may take a few weeks or months.

Further, it’s important to mark the distinction between skip tracing and hunting services. Skip tracers are sometimes referred to as bounty hunters, but in actuality, tracers are used by hunters. Further, hunters are usually after targets with arrest warrants—tracers are after anyone who neglects their obligations. Financial troubles are some of the most common reasons people “skip” town; they cannot fulfill their financial obligations, maybe because the debt is too high or they owe the wrong crowd. Regardless of their reasons, if they run—a professional skip tracer will find them.

skip tracing

What is Skip Tracing?

Any skip tracing definition will tell you it is the action of tracing (i.e., finding or locating) a “skipper” (i.e., debtor, witness, criminal, missing person). Still, there is more to skip tracing than finding the missing dramatis personae.Tracers aim to find out everything about their targets, but knowing a name and phone number isn’t good enough. Professional tracers often immerse themselves in the evidence available to them; much like method acting, it assists them in anticipating their target’s next location.

Skip tracers collect all information, from the most basic to the most complex. They will access all public information before starting to use private databases. The search for private information is legal when done through valid software and with permissions. Information that includes:

  • Full name, aliases, known family and friends, work history
  • Known phone numbers, emails, addresses, properties, vehicles
  • Driver’s license, professional certificates, licenses, permits
  • Social media accounts, gaming accounts, and public forum history
  • Utility bills, given bank statements, or paycheck stubs
  • Courthouse records or criminal background checks
  • Public records databases or loan applications
  • Credit reports, job applications, and known travel records

Who Uses Skip Tracing?

Anyone can hire a skip tracer; they are either free agents, contractors, part of a firm, or in a department of a larger entity (i.e., police). As the introduction mentions, skip tracers are not bounty hunters but are hired as assisting agents. Debt collectors also use skip tracing regularly. The same goes for:

  • Debt recovery and repossession agents
  • Private investigators and detectives
  • Lawyers and bondsmen
  • Real estate investors and buyers
  • Journalists and reporters
  • Missing people organizations

The laity can also use skip tracing for a variety of benefits:

  • Check bankruptcy records before joining an investment
  • Find the ex-partner for child support and divorce papers
  • Locate the college kid partying on Spring Break and not studying
  • Track down the location of your missing second-cousin-twice-removed
  • Find out what the right address is for your Uncle’s farm
  • Locate your priceless vase on display in your neighbor’s house

skip tracing

Can You be a Skip Tracer? How?

Skip tracing has become much easier in the last decade; social media and gaming accounts are rife with public knowledge. Sometimes, you can be a skip tracer and track down the missing party faster (and cheaper) than hiring professionals. If going this route, start with Google; you may find outdated or incorrect information, but you’re just looking for basics. After this, check social media for clues, and genealogy sites for kin, then use public databases for everything else. Depending on your end goals, you may want to record and present your findings to the authorities or your lawyer.

Note:Public databases and background checks cost money to run. Many people, like employers and landlords, pay the costs to have background checks done on prospective employees or tenants; only a few pay full price to know everything because the costs can quickly drive upward. Hiring professionals who have access to tracer tools will significantly reduce overall costs. The average skip tracing price costs between $20 to $350 per hour. This is especially true for cases of missing people. Private databases can help locate the person, but they are usually too expensive for the average person. Moreover, professional skip tracers also use specialized software, giving them unique information about every individual.

What is Batch Skip Tracing?

If skip tracing refers to one person being searched, batch skip tracing refers to many. Batch searching has a lot of benefits for the company or institutions that can use it. Batch tracers focus on finding a high number of people there is no other way of finding. Industry databases sometimes have 'batch' features of the same type—using these features, business owners can change all information about every client simultaneously. Batch skip tracing works with the same principle; rather than doing a single search per individual, batch allows for multiple—even hundreds—at once. Batch skip tracing is often how justice finds criminals who are recorded and placed on social media.

Check Out Our Skip Tracing Business Page for Even More Information

There is more to skip tracing than meets the eye. Although this article is a full guide on skip tracing, you can find nuanced information for skip tracers by reading our business page. Our proprietary technology makes finding anyone easy; phone numbers, addresses, connections, and contacts are all details we use to find your person. Skip tracing will provide clarity to any situation.

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