A Step-by-Step Guide to Skip Tracing


Let’s face it: Who doesn’t enjoy a captivating mystery narrative?

Consider, for instance, one of the standout TV series from the late 1980s, Unsolved Mysteries. Its popularity was so immense that Netflix introduced a highly successful reboot in 2023.

Certainly, a television program centered on unsolved mysteries is intriguing, but when the mystery involves someone you’re actively trying to locate in real life — and can’t seem to find — that’s an entirely different scenario.

Enter skip tracing. While you may have come across the term, what does skip tracing entail precisely? And why is skip tracing crucial when it comes to tracking down elusive individuals?

We’re here to address these queries and more, so stay tuned for further insights.

What Is Skip Tracing?

Skip tracing is the process of locating an individual who has seemingly disappeared without a trace. When someone decides to “skip town,” they typically leave no forwarding address, phone number, or any other contact details behind. While such actions may be innocuous at times, individuals often engage in this behavior to evade responsibilities, such as settling debts.

The term “skip tracing” is coined from the actions taken to trace and locate these individuals.

Several professionals and organizations may enlist the services of a skip tracer. Here are some typical examples:

  • Tenant or employment background verification services
  • Bounty hunters
  • Private investigators and detectives
  • Journalists and reporters
  • Real estate agents
  • Genealogists
  • Lawyers and attorneys
  • Collection agencies
  • Repossession companies
  • Missing children organizations
  • Insurance fraud investigators
  • Alumni involved in organizing class reunions

The significance of skip tracing goes beyond debt collection, finding application in various fields. In real estate, for instance, skip tracing is commonly employed to locate the owners of abandoned properties. Additionally, professionals in different sectors utilize skip tracing to find former colleagues or conduct research.

It’s crucial to note that skip tracing and bounty hunting are distinct activities. While bounty hunters or bail bondsmen may employ skip tracing techniques to locate individuals, this is just one aspect of their broader responsibilities.

Unlike a skip tracer, a bounty hunter possesses the authority to make arrests or take legal action upon finding the person.

Skip Tracing Steps

Having established the concept of skip tracing, let’s delve into the procedural aspects. Whether you opt for a do-it-yourself approach or engage the services of a skip tracing service, the following steps outline the expected process.

1. Build & Verify Their Profile

Not everyone difficult to contact is intentionally evading debts or responsibilities; there might be a lack of accurate or current contact details. Initiate the process by scrutinizing the available personal information, which may encompass:

  • Full name, nicknames, or aliases
  • Last known physical address
  • Phone number (landline or cellular)
  • Email address
  • Social security number
  • Social media profiles

To streamline the search and verification, tools like Super Phone offer comprehensive control, enabling the swift acquisition of phone numbers and addresses for individuals or businesses. In cases where you have a confirmed address but limited additional information, a reverse lookup address tool can be employed to uncover more details.

2. Expand Your Search

In cases where your initial skip tracing attempts yield limited results, it becomes essential to gather historical and associative information about the individual.

Explore details such as:

  • Past physical addresses
  • Previous employers
  • Educational institutions attended (high schools, colleges, universities)
  • Military service history (past or present)
  • Names and contact information of family members
  • Information about ex-spouses or significant others
  • Former neighbors or business associates
  • Professional organizations or affiliations

For tracking down neighbors and known associates, utilizing a Trace Detail Report becomes valuable. This report provides lawful details of individuals you can contact during the pursuit.

A useful tip: Although it may seem somber, considering the possibility of the person being deceased can be relevant. Ensure the individual is still alive by cross-referencing their name with death records, and tools like Enhanced People Search can assist in this aspect.

3. Dig Through Public Records

If you haven’t located the person you’re searching for yet, you might consider enlisting the services of a professional skip tracer to meticulously navigate through public records.

Their research may involve:

  • Credit card applications and credit reports
  • Background checks and criminal records
  • Courthouse records and appearances
  • Job applications
  • Driver’s license and vehicle registration records
  • Air travel history
  • Public tax records
  • Utility bills
  • Loan applications
  • Department store loyalty programs
  • Search engines and social networks
  • School alumni or reunion websites
  • Previous landlords or roommates

While some of this research can be conducted independently, it is often time-consuming, frustrating, and potentially costly when ordering reports from various databases. Consequently, many individuals in similar situations entrust the bulk of the research to professional skip tracers, particularly in the latter stages of the skip tracing process.

4. Contact Family, Friends, and Associates

Occasionally, friends or family members may be willing to assist in locating the person you’re searching for, while in other cases, you may encounter reluctance. It is essential to emphasize that attempting to extract information forcibly is unacceptable.

If leads from the individual’s close circle are unproductive, extend your inquiries to include former landlords, co-workers, or neighbors. Someone might recall a minor detail, perhaps casually mentioned, that could guide you in the right direction.

Most importantly, exercise patience. The skip tracing process demands considerable time and effort, even with professional assistance. Persevere in your efforts, and eventually, you are likely to uncover the contact information you seek.

The Best Skip Tracing Tools & Services

The advent of the digital era has, in some respects, simplified the art of staying connected, while paradoxically making it easier for individuals to vanish.

Whether your objective is to locate someone for debt collection, property acquisition, or any other purpose, skip tracing emerges as the most effective strategy. Armed with the appropriate tools and incorporating top-notch skip tracing tips, you’ll swiftly navigate the path to uncovering the whereabouts of that elusive individual.

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