What do you do when you need to find someone or something that doesn't want to be seen? While you can make a few calls and conduct your own search, the truth is that not everyone has the time or energy to do so. This is where skip tracing services might be helpful.

Locating individuals can be challenging when your purpose is to serve legal documents or other pressing professional matters. Through strategic data collection and analysis, professionals can locate a person's whereabouts through a process called 'skip tracing.'

Skip tracing is the actual process of locating a person's whereabouts or sometimes an object. It is a viable solution if you find that a person has been uncooperative in an essential manner.

A skip tracer performs skip tracing services, a person's primary occupation. You can tap an individual or skip tracing company to carry out the service. Process servers usually have a list of contacts you can work with for this matter.

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What is Skip Tracing?

To put things in layman's terms, skip tracing is the process of finding all the information about a specific individual through searching public and private databases. The term 'skip' in skip trace is rooted in the phrase 'skipping town.' The 'trace' refers to the individual who skipped town.

These pieces of information may include address information, phone numbers, and leads from known relatives or individuals close to the person you're looking for. Sometimes, court records, company details, and even contacting neighbors are used to gather accurate information about a person's whereabouts.

As a start, the skip tracer will ask for search criteria from the person requesting his services. The location of an individual requires the person who's paying for the job to share all the information available to start the process.

Someone who uses skip tracing must gather as much information as possible to locate a person. The skip tracers must employ tools to access accurate data and resources.

Modern skip tracing services involve plenty of due diligence. It may be possible to locate individuals through the strategic use of online data. A skip tracing company would usually know which online resources to tap into to streamline the entire search process.

While you can skip trace using the internet, you need to do plenty of analysis and further investigation for the search to be fruitful. Searching for information online may sound simple, but the truth is the search can be more complicated than you thought. That's why it's best to leave it to the professionals to get the job done.

Who Uses Skip Tracing Services?

If you watch many television shows and movies, you have probably seen people like private investigators, debt collectors, or even bounty hunters skip trace to find a specific individual or item. The truth is that the skip trace portrayal of these fictional projects is partially accurate. However, there are instances where the person you're looking for is not necessarily hiding from you.

There are cases when a person you used to know or owes you money or something moves from one place to another. In cases like these, the interesting subject hires skip tracing companies to help them locate individuals they're looking for.

In addition, process servers, real estate investors, and lawyers also use skip trace in order to fast-track specific legal processes. While they may have contact information of the people they're looking for, some individuals are unresponsive or uncooperative.

The most popular use for skip tracing is for legal purposes, and there is a good reason behind this. Legal issues usually involve money or other assets. Some people may be unwilling to face the court, and that's why they change addresses and skip town. However, skip tracers can tap resources to find these people possibly.

The banking industry uses skip trace from time to time to locate individuals who have avoided their team's calls or contact efforts. This is applicable especially when a person is avoiding payment for assets or a loan.

Interestingly, some journalists employ the service of skip tracers to look for people they wish to interview or research for an article or show. Some people have a limited presence on the internet, and the person they're looking for can be tough to get in touch with. They rely on the assistance of a skip tracer to make the process easier.

Not all skip trace efforts are for professional endeavors. There are cases wherein families pay a team to search for long-lost relatives or individuals they've lost contact with. The skip tracer can locate the property or contact number of the subject for a certain fee.


How Does a Skip Tracing Company or Professional Get the Job Done?

The skip trace process varies from one individual to the other. Some professionals may resolve to go through the conventional method, while some employ other services to make skip tracing more manageable from their end.

The process usually begins with the client verifying all the information on hand. This step is essential because there are cases wherein people share the same name. The person employing the skip trace service doesn't usually come empty-handed. That's why all parties involved need to verify the data available to carry out the service.

From there, the skip tracer exhausts all resources available to possibly determine the addresses of individuals. While the process of skip tracing might sound simple, the truth is that the effort to get the job done is more complicated than it seems. To find the new location or contact information of a person, a skip tracer usually goes through the following documents:

  • Databases for phone numbers;
  • Credit reports;
  • Credit card applications;
  • Utility bills;
  • Loan applications;
  • Court records;
  • Criminal background checks;
  • Air travel records;
  • Driver's license records;
  • Public tax information.

Skip tracing doesn't stop at gathering these details. The job requires the skip tracer to analyze all these resources and trace the subject accordingly. The documents may lead them to various addresses, which may cause further confusion. The skip trace services involve so many complex steps because it's not easy to find someone who doesn't want to be found.

After a thorough analysis of the records available, the next step is to pay a visit to the property address or make calls to the person's co-workers or known relatives. They may be instances when the skip tracer gets in touch with the subject's neighbors to collect more data and possible insight.

Is Skip Tracing Legal?

The process of skip tracing is legal. However, the skip tracer must be careful in operating within the laws and limitations of the state, city, or town they have to venture into for the search. This is important to note in cases wherein private property is involved.

It is important to note that while the services of skip tracers involve a lot of research to determine a person's location or addresses, the person conducting the skip trace can only do so through legal means.

Any reputable skip tracer in the industry would avoid illegal means to obtain the address or access a person. Further problems may ensue if the skip tracer does something against the law to finish the job.

A legitimate skip tracer usually undergoes training before being sent out to the field. There are even online courses or seminars that detail the scope and limitations of these professionals. This ensures that he knows what he can and cannot do. It is essential to follow the rules, after all.

How Much are Skip Tracing Fees?

The cost for skip tracing services depends on the extensiveness of the search as well as who you're employing to conduct the service. Suppose you're tapping an individual recommended by process servers. In that case, you should expect the cost to be above average because these are usually experienced individuals who have done this so many times.

If you're getting a skip tracing agency for this matter, the good news is that they usually charge less than individuals. At the same time, these agencies offer different deals for you to consider. They're the more economical choice if you want to save some money.

On average, the process would cost you about $450 to $1,000. The basic search would be on the lower spectrum of this range. However, this option is ideal for individuals who are not in a total rush only. If you're rushing to locate a person or item, you would have to pay a certain premium for the process to be fast-tracked. At the end of the day, you get what you pay for.

Some services take a week to a few weeks to be accomplished. While skip tracers are highly qualified to conduct the service, there are instances wherein their searches may not be so fruitful. Hence, it's a calculated risk because you save a lot of time and effort by not searching by yourself.

Interestingly, skip tracers can stand to make an average of $27,000 to $45,000 annually. You don't have to perform skip tracing services all the time, and some skilled individuals conduct this service on a part-time basis. If you have a keen eye for detail and you love the thrill of the hunt, skip tracing might prove to be a fulfilling endeavor for you.

Looking for a person who doesn't want to be found may be challenging, but not impossible. With the help of a skip tracing expert, you might just be successful on your quest.