In this day and age, it's relatively easier to get information on just about anyone. Few clicks on the internet can give a person's details -- and they might not even know it's available to the public. Oftentimes, thorough research online and in social media can help discover a person's contact information and the location they're usually found.

But some people can be elusive and perfect the art of falling off the grid, no trace of them in real life and what little data they have on the internet.

Such circumstances mostly happen when a major incident demands their appearance, response or action. This could be related to substantial debt, a consequential legal action or fraud cases.

On court cases and missing defendants

The service of process requires that an official notice of a legal action must be handed over to a defendant for a court proceeding to start. This document to be delivered mentions the root cause of the case, the claims of both parties, and which court or tribunal the legal proceeding will take place in.

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What happens, then, if the defendant is nowhere to be found?

Here is where skip tracers enter the picture.

The skip tracing process

But first, the service of process

For legal documents to be served to the defendant, process servers must first know where they are located or identify a place they frequent in order to hand over the court papers. First and foremost, they begin with checking the subject's residential area.

However, if a defendant's whereabouts remain unidentifiable after exhausting all measures, process servers do skip tracing tactics which involve the process of locating missing individuals.

Skip tracing

Skip tracers search for as much information on an individual as possible, to eventually determine the defendant's current residence. Naturally, verifying the person's details would be the first step in the process of skip tracing because without the correct initial data, the skip tracing will be futile.

Written as the main duty in skip tracing process is to scour through resources such as online databases, licenses and registration records to further their investigation. Skip trackers can also do criminal background checks or utility bills to trace the subject.

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If these public resources don't have any helpful information, the skip tracing process doesn't stop there since the skip tracer extends the legwork by touching base with the friends, neighbors and family of the subject in the hopes that they get the data they need. This is commonly known as social engineering.

A skip tracer may also resort to other surveillance work so long as it remains within the limits set by privacy laws and trespass laws.

Availing skip tracing services

Given the intensive research placed into skip tracing, which groups usually use skip tracing services?

An individual would understandably avoid a case that covers big amounts of money or a grave legal case and skip town just to dodge their obligations. Such evasion may be experienced by debt collectors and landlords who want their money, private investigators and law firms who may be in search of a certain witness. Journalists may also of a skip tracer's services if the need arises.

All of these might have the subjects unavailable to serve documents to, and so it calls for performing a skip trace so they can eventually serve the appropriate files, notices or bills.

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What a skip tracer needs

The work definitely sounds interesting with just the right amount of thrill. Still, there must be proper preparations in order to be an effective skip tracer.

Before they engage in skip tracing work, they must first be familiar with the laws of the state they will work in. Knowing the ins and outs of the law will help them accomplish a skip trace without violating any regulations. Some states are more relaxed when it comes to requirements, only requiring a skip tracer to be over 18 years of age, although several states impose the requirement of having a license before they can begin any skip tracing.

Privacy and detective work

Despite the extensive research and surveillance that comes along with skip tracing, skip tracers must always remember to adhere to local laws. Breaching the law just so they can locate a person may prove to be counterproductive especially since the very matter they are dealing with is related to the law.

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Why get the services of a skip tracer?

Some people are just harder to find than usual, seemingly vanishing without any sign. As mentioned earlier, a plaintiff cannot proceed with their court case if the formal notice had not been served to the opposing party. That said, it's essential to use skip tracing to locate a missing subject in a timely manner.

Plus, not everyone has access to records and highly-specialized databases, but professional skip tracers do, which is why these kinds of services exist.

Handling a crucial case or collection takes up significant time and effort on a person's end. By getting a skip tracer, a person can cross off the arduous job of tracing those who skip town to avoid a court order or money dues. Rest assured that skip tracing service will provide clients with much needed leads, and keep their cases moving.

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