The current inflation in the global market because of recent events has been difficult for thousands to millions of people. The higher cost of goods has led others to begin loaning either a monetary allowance or in terms of goods.

Loaning can be a short-term solution to be able to bounce back on your feet when times can get rough. However, it's important to remember that a loan needs to be paid back, either with or without interest depending on who you're talking to.

If you are unable to pay it back within the deadline—whether it is by accident or not—then an agency will be forced to skip trace.

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What is Skip Tracing?

Skip tracing is a technique used by agencies and debt collectors to locate debtors who have left town or, in other words, "skipped" town. If the debtor is unable to pay back their dues and unavailable to answer phone calls, receive collection letters, or house visits, then it may be safe to assume that the debtor may have left or begun living elsewhere.

There are others who may do skip town on purpose to avoid paying back something they do not have the money for, while others may not have realized the day of their dues or to change their address or contact information to easily receive any collection letters to avoid skip tracing.

Most of the time skip tracing is used when the debtor doesn't want to be found or decides to go into hiding after loaning a large sum.

A skip tracer can be hired by an individual or a group through a third-party agency or find independent skip tracers. A collection agency will also have a handful of skip tracers they can employ for their clients.

What is the Skip Tracing Process?

Skip tracing techniques have to undergo steps for a skip tracer to find the debtor responsibly and promptly.

A skip tracer is trained to handle such cases and they have the resources available to them from the agency or person that had assigned them the job.

These are Some Skip Tracing Steps a Skip Tracer Will Go Through:

  1. Verify the information
  2. Familiarizing with the debtor
  3. Collect possible information from available public data such as:
    1. Utility bills
    2. Credit Reports
    3. Criminal Records
    4. Professional licenses
    5. Search engines
    6. Vehicle registrations
    7. Voters registration
    8. Travel History
    9. Public Tax Information
    10. Loan applications
    11. Job applications
  4. Contact possible relations or acquaintances

Social media now makes it easy to skip trace because of the information readily available, as well as the possible persons the debtor may know. This makes skip tracing easier now due to advancements in technology, public and online channels, and a simple Google search.

Now, there are already various websites that can help with skip tracing to find individuals through the use of unique software and online databases created by companies and independent agencies.

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Who Can Be a Skip Tracer?

Skip tracers can be hired debt collectors, private investigators, detectives, journalists, reporters, or bondsmen. Infamously, skip tracers are also known as bounty hunters. General bounty hunters, however, may be hired to skip trace.

Skip tracing doesn't need a license or certificate to operate, but they are well-skilled in understanding and using their resources. They are thorough and known to be meticulous to get the job done.

Debt collectors or third-party agencies hiring a skip tracer, however, will find that they can be expensive and may cost as much as the money you are owed. It is recommended to use a skip tracer when it is absolutely necessary.

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What are Skip Tracing Techniques?

While there are individuals that you may be able to hire to skip trace, it is possible for an agency to do skip tracing themselves.

A professional skip tracer will employ techniques that they've gathered over the years, including using expensive software to make the process quicker and easier.

Skip tracing can be a complex process but their techniques are ones that can be employed by regular agencies without spending for an expensive independent contractor.

Use Social Media

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok are among the top most used social media platforms in the world. It is rare for an individual to have a non-existent social media profile, though it is possible for their profiles to be made private. Skip tracing usually starts with this.

Google

Googling someone's name isn't new. It can be a common technique in skip tracing. While it can be inaccurate if the debtor is someone with a common name, it is a start. Google can also help in finding the debtor's workplace and its address to locate them through their office.

Friends and Family.

The debtor's close friends and family members will be the next go-to people to contact if the debtor cannot be located. Skip tracing may involve numerous phone calls of the debtor's kin.

This information can be made available to you already during the loaning process, after asking for references, or through social media.

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How Long Does it Take to Skip Trace?

The duration for skip tracing can be determined by how skilled the skip tracer is. The process may also be determined by the available information the debtor may have and how much they've covered if they're truly out of reach.

For professional skip tracers, skip tracing may only take up to 48 hours or less. While the most a skip trace can be conducted may take more than a week to a month.

Before handing a loan to an individual, the agency must be able to request for more information from the debtor to avoid the use of complex skip tracing.

Is Skip Tracing Legal?

Skip tracing is a regular practice around the world, therefor it is completely legal to conduct. However, skip tracing still needs to undergo the legal process of finding a person.

A skip trace must be performed through the information that's publicly available. They cannot use other means that will be deemed illegal by the law of the state.

Tips to Avoid Skip Tracing

Regardless of your ability or inability to pay for your loan, you are still responsible for the act and you must pay back what you owe accordingly. These tips will be to avoid being called to skip trace and give you a more clear mindset in your responsibility.

  • Be mindful of your scheduled payment fees
  • Keep your public profile limited if you don't want to be found through those means without your consent
  • Read the contents of the contract before agreeing to the loan
  • Keep the loan documents ready in case of instances of unjustly being skip traced.
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