When must you use skip tracing?

  • Skip tracing is a process used to find a debtor who has moved or disappeared in order to avoid legal responsibilities such as debt payments.
  • The skip tracing process involves reviewing a debtor’s information, finding public records, and contacting people who know the debtor.
  • Renting a skip tracer can save you time, but it can cost a significant portion of the amount you owe.
  • This article is for business owners and freelancers considering skip tracing to find unresponsive debtors.

To collect money that is owed you, you must first find the person who owes you the money. Sometimes it is easier said than done to locate these people. Some debtors will speak openly about their inability to pay the amounts owed; others can try to hide. In these situations, skip tracing may be required to locate the debtor.

What is skip tracing?

Skip tracing is the process of finding someone who has moved or otherwise disappeared. Usually these people have moved or disappeared in the hope of avoiding certain responsibilities like paying off debts. Skip tracing is not the same as detective work or bounty hunting, which can end in arrest.

Skip tracing is often included in the collection process as it can help creditors find those who owe them money.

Key to take away: Skip tracing is a technique used to determine the current whereabouts of a debtor who owes you money.

Who Uses Skip Tracing Tactics?

Skip tracing is a common tactic in debt collection. If you use a collection agency to request payment from an unresponsive debtor, the agency can use a skip-tracing feature in hopes of finding the debtor.

Collection agencies have more time and skills to locate such a debtor while you likely have other priority tasks. In addition, detectives, private investigators, journalists, reporters, and lawyers frequently use skip tracing.

topTop: Skip tracing tactics are widely used by debt collection agencies to track down a debtor, but detectives, journalists, and lawyers also use them to track down individuals.

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How do you know if skip tracing is needed?

When a non-paying customer who owes you money is out of touch with the outside world, you may think that skip tracing is required to find them. Skipping the trace is not always necessary, however. Sometimes you can find the information yourself.

That’s because the vast majority of information is now available online, unlike when Skip Tracing was introduced. Search engines and social media platforms mean you can theoretically take the first steps of skipping tracing yourself. Sometimes you can do a skip trace all by yourself, but if not, a more experienced skip tracer can do the job.

did you know alreadyDid you know already? Skipping follow-up may be needed if a debtor is unresponsive, and sometimes you can start or complete the process yourself.

What is the skip tracing process?

Should it prove necessary to skip the trace, it is usually done in the following order.

1. Your skip tracer checks the debtor’s details.

It is possible that you won’t hear from a debtor because you don’t have the correct contact details for them. Skip tracing starts with the simple step of verifying the debtor’s contact details.

If you’re lucky, and the skip-tracer quickly identifies the correct contact information, you can reach out to the debtor and ask them to pay off their debt.

2. Your skiptracer collects publicly available information about the debtor.

Not everyone likes to sift through information databases in hopes of finding helpful information on a particular topic – sometimes it’s there, but when you don’t, you lose valuable time. If this time-consuming, often frustrating process isn’t your thing, a skip tracer can do the job for you.

A skip tracer will review public records such as the following to learn more about your debtor:

  • Address history
  • Travel history
  • Court records
  • Credit card applications
  • Credit reports
  • Criminal records and background checks
  • Driving license history
  • Applications and history
  • Loan applications and history
  • Phone number records
  • search engines
  • Social media
  • Tax documents
  • Utility bills
  • Vehicle history

Using the information from these records, your skip-tracer can connect the dots and locate your debtor. If they are unsuccessful, they can take other steps.

3. Your skip tracer contacts the debtor’s family and friends.

Friends and family members of the debtor can often help a skip tracer find a debtor, although they may not always do so voluntarily (and should never be forced to do so against their will).

If friends and family prove unhelpful, try contacting the debtor’s current and previous landlords, neighbors, or co-workers. These people can provide clues as to where the debtor can be found.

Take away keyKey to take away: The skip tracing process involves reviewing a debtor’s information, finding public records, and contacting people who know the debtor.

How skip tracers complete the skip tracing process

You may feel that you can handle the skip tracing yourself. This notion is not necessarily wrong, but professional skip tracers are better suited to the process as they have access to skip tracing software that may be too expensive for your use. You probably won’t skip finding debtors on a regular basis, but if you have to skip finding someone on occasion, professionals can serve you better.

topTop: Professional skip tracers use software that may be too expensive for individual business owners or freelancers.

Should you hire a skiptracer for the collection?

If you’re a business owner or a freelancer with a non-paying client, you probably have enough on your plate that finding someone you might never find is completely unattractive. That is why many debt collection agencies offer skip tracing services.

Because collection agencies specialize in contacting debtors, they may find missing contacts and be more successful in getting debtors to pay than you could. Also, since debt collection is their job, they have more time than you do.

That means you pay your fair share of money to hire a debt collection agency. Often times, these agencies keep 25 to 50% of the debt as a fee. If you think the cost of hiring a debt collection agency is worth it, our debt collection agency reviews can help you select the right debt collection agency for your needs. Hopefully you can find your debtor – and collect the money you owe – before you know it.

did you know alreadyDid you know already? Hiring a debt collection agency can save you time, but it can cost a significant portion of the amount you owe.

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