Skip trace, as you may know, is a debtor recovery method. It is used to trace and locate the whereabouts of a person who owes dues to an entity and becomes “missing” on purpose. Skip tracers work towards finding a debtor who avoids fulfilling their obligations. Companies employ skip tracers to sift through piles of data to develop meaningful insights that help track the defaulters. Skip tracers may be working with several different objectives and could call themselves accounts receivable officers, bounty hunters, contact tracers, debt collectors, enforcement agents, detectives, journalists, stalkers, forensic investigators, etc.
Skip Tracing Process
You may find the concept as a wholesome solution to find skippers or offenders. However, in the real world, resources are limited. Therefore, skip tracing deploys the available resources to track and catch defaulters. These individuals typically try to cover their tracks to avoid fulfilling their obligations, like overdue bills. Skip tracing has a structured approach that can be understood in distinct steps:
To verify the information provided by the client to understand who the subject is and if the client has any misinformation.
• Step 1
Then, the skip tracer will start collecting as much information as possible about the subject.
• Step 2
The information is then analyzed, reduced, and verified. Sometimes the subject’s current whereabouts are in the data but are obfuscated by the sheer amount of information or disinformation.
• Step 3 – up the game
Often, the job becomes more than just online qualitative research. Skip tracers need to employ methods like social engineering that involve calling or physically visiting former acquaintances of the target individual, e.g., neighbors, service providers, etc.
Skip Tracing Techniques
Modern-day skip tracers do not have to go all-in to conduct dumpster diving. Social media has dramatically reduced the hard work involved in conventional skip tracing. Online databases provide a lot of basic info that proves essential when starting a skip trace. We discuss the traditional sources to gather information:
• Phone Databases
Skip tracers can search phone databases to find numbers corresponding to the person’s name for whom the search is being conducted.
• Credit Reports
Getting hold of the target person’s credit report, which was collected at the time of their application, can help tracers get onto the individuals quickly
• Criminal Searches
They shed light on individual’s status of being incarcerated or perhaps on parole.
• Postal Service Changes
Once tracers have the last known address, they can conduct a search at the Post Office to check if the individual requested any specific service changes like mail forwarding, etc.
• Federal or National Registrations
Registrations like voter names, professional licenses, etc., can prove an excellent source of obtaining the individual’s latest whereabouts.
• Tax Information
A person may default on paying a debt, but they would think twice before skipping a federal or provincial tax obligation.
As a practice, no one technique works well in isolation. Skip tracers have to deploy multiple techniques in parallel, using data from each technique to cross-reference with others to derive accurate results. Professionals often resort to batch skip tracing, wherein they extensively use technology to skip trace several people at once. Batch skip tracing helps in the case of Financial or Law enforcement agencies where the entities need to track as many cases as they can simultaneously.