The Role of Skip Tracing in Debt Collection

Many consumers who fall into debt and feel they are out of options will stop responding to communications from a collection agency. They may even move to a different location or employ advanced tactics such as using fake identification and listing PO boxes for their addresses.

To recover payments on these delinquent accounts, desperate creditors may take advantage of skip tracing.

What is skip tracing?

Skip tracing is the process of locating debtors whose listed contact information is no longer available nor accurate. Consumer information can become obsolete for several reasons. It can be a result of changes to mailing addresses, phone numbers, or names through marriage.

“Skip” is derived from the phrase “to skip town.” It refers to debtors who intentionally relocate or disconnect their phone lines to abandon creditors’ attempts to reach them. A skip tracer may use any number of resources to obtain the required information. Good skip tracers will be able to gather and verify data, follow clues, and determine where the skip is located.

Is skip tracing legal?

Skip tracing is legal in the U.S. provided the collectors and agencies do not violate state laws regarding consumer privacy. Access to public records vary for each state and skip tracers must be mindful of these conditions when collecting information.

How is skip tracing performed?

working togetherBack in the day, skip tracing involved spending hours searching through phone directories, hand-written ledgers, and endless file cabinets. Skip tracers today have access to more public records and specialized databases that are constantly updated. Instead of poring over thousands of files, they can instantly discover information through a simple search via Google. The internet can even help verify changes in legal names and aliases, street and email addresses, and even find related contacts such as friends, family, and past or current employers.

Skip tracing often involves examining the following:

  • Air travel records
  • Courthouse records, liens, judgments or civil suits
  • Credit card applications
  • Credit reports
  • Criminal background checks
  • Department store loyalty cards
  • Driver’s license
  • Vehicle registration departments
  • Job applications
  • Loan applications
  • Phone number databases
  • Professional networks (LinkedIn, alumni associations)
  • Public records databases
  • Public tax information
  • Social media channels (Facebook, Instagram)
  • Utility bills

Skip tracing also involves asset tracking through financial institutions and retailers such as banks, insurance companies, and auto dealerships. Other reliable sources of data include subscriptions with cable companies, phone carriers, gas and electric providers, and water departments.

A dedicated skip tracing agency

Skip tracing can be accurate if you hire reputable professionals. As a New York City based agency, we’ve helped various companies and individuals search for evasive parties in a matter of minutes. We have access to publicly available and proprietary databases and from there, we’ll proceed to verify this data. Call us at 1-888-994-6339 to book an appointment.

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