Debt Collection Tactics: What Is Skip Tracing?

First, locate the person who owes the money to you in order to collect it. Sometimes it is not easy to locate those people. While some debtors will openly admit to their inability to pay the debt, others might try to hide. In these situations, Skip tracing might be necessary to locate these debtors.

What is skip tracing?

Skip tracing refers to the process of finding someone who has moved or disappeared. These individuals usually move or disappear in an attempt to avoid certain responsibilities such as debt payments. Skip tracing does not involve detective work or bounty hunting. This can lead to an arrest.

Skip tracing is often part of the debt collection process. It can be used to help creditors locate those who owe money.

Who uses skip-tracing techniques?

Skip tracing is a popular tactic in debt collection. To collect payment from an unresponsive debtor you can hire a debt collection agency. The agency might use skip tracing to try and find the debtor.

While debt-collection agencies may have more time and resources to locate such a person, you probably have other priorities. Skip tracing is also used by private investigators, lawyers, journalists, reporters, and detectives.

How do you know if skip tracing is necessary?

If you have a client that is not paying their debts, it will be thrown out of your office. You might believe that skip-tracing is required to locate them. Skip tracing is not always necessary. Sometimes you can find the information by yourself.

This is because, unlike the time when skip tracing was first developed, most information can now be found online. This is thanks to search engines and social media platforms. The theory is that you could do the skip trace steps yourself. Sometimes you can do a skip trace completely on your own. If not, a more skilled skip tracer may be able to do the job.

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What is the skip-tracing process?

If skip tracing is necessary, it will usually proceed in the following order.

1. Your skip tracer verifies the debtor’s information.

You may not be hearing back from a debtor because you do not have their correct contact information. Skip tracing starts with the simple step of verifying the contact information of the debtor.

If the skip tracer is able to quickly identify the right contact information, you may be able to reach the debtor to ask them to repay what you owe.

2. Your skip tracer collects publicly available information on the debtor.

Some people don’t like to look through informational databases looking for information on a topic. If it isn’t, you have wasted valuable time. If this time-consuming, often frustrating process isn’t your cup of tea, A skip tracer is able to do the job for you.

To learn more about your debtor, a skip tracer will search public records such as these:

  • History of your address
  • History of travel
  • Court records
  • Application for credit cards
  • Credit reports
  • Background checks and criminal records
  • Driver’s license history
  • Job applications and history
  • Loan applications and history
  • Telephone number records
  • Search engines
  • Social media
  • Tax records
  • Utility bills
  • History of the automobile

Your skip tracer can use the information from these records to locate your debtor. They may also take additional steps if they fail.

3. Your skip tracer contacts the family and friends of the debtor.

Family members and friends of the debtor are often able to help a skip tracer locate a person, although they may not always be willing to do so (and should never have to).

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Contacting the debtor’s former landlords, neighbors, or co-workers can be a good option if family and friends are not able to help. These people might be able to help you locate the debtor.

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How to skip tracers complete the skip-tracing process

It is possible to believe that skip tracing can be done by yourself. Although this is true, professional skip tracers can handle this process better than you because they have access to skip-tracing software which might not be affordable for your needs. While you won’t be able to skip trace debtors every day, professional skip tracers may be more useful when you need to.

Should you hire a skip tracer to collect your debts?

You are a freelancer or business owner who has a client that is not paying you. You probably have enough to do, so hunting for someone who might be a good match is not an appealing option. That’s why many debt collection agencies offer skip-tracing services.

Because debt collection agencies are trained to contact debtors, they can find missing contacts and be more successful in convincing them to pay. Because debt collection is their job they are more likely to have the time and resources to do this job than you. However, you will pay your fair share to hire a debt collection agent. These agencies often keep 25 to 50% of the debt for their fees.