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Sometimes, the problem is the customers have seemingly skipped town. You can no longer get in touch with them; they don't answer their phones, emails bounce back, and the office building appears to have been vacated. Your customer has, for all intents and purposes, skipped town, leaving you on the hook for their unpaid debt. The missing customer—known as a skip in the industry— needs to be tracked down.

This is the art of skip tracing, which is common enough when it comes to debt collection. People default on their accounts quite frequently, and many of them move or go into hiding in order to avoid the collectors.

Learn How to Find Anyone Through Skip Tracing - Direct Legal Support, Inc.

As a result, those in collection have had to get better at tracking people down. Skip tracers are the professionals who are engaged in this line of work. Many debt collection agencies engage in skip tracing and employ skip tracers as part of their services. Skip tracers utilize several methods to track down subjects. They collect information, often from public records such as phone directories and credit reports, and then verify and analyze the information.

Sometimes, they will collect information from people who might know the person, such as former neighbors in the office building or the new tenants or landlord. Skip tracers then use the information to extract the subject's current location. Sometimes, what they need to know is in all the data they've collected; other times, skip tracers must make some educated guesses.

While the internet has made it easier to practice skip tracing, it's still an acquired skill learned through practice. Even with the internet, skip tracing still makes use of some customized tools. In fact, the internet has made it even more important to have a professional program to trace people; since there's so much information available, a program often does a better job at collecting, analyzing, and sorting data than a single person alone.

Skip tracers also have a special skill set, which includes the ability to make connections in the data. In some ways, they're specialized data analysts. Of course, even once you've found the person, you still have to collect the account. A third-party provider can help you with this step too, offering you integrated accounts receivable and collections management from end to end.

Debt Control Agency Skip Tracing Services

This last installment of the series puts the last piece of the debt collection puzzle in place with a detailed guide on skip tracing. It can be difficult deciding which vendor to use for your skip tracing information. Here are a few tips for picking a vendor that works for you.

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If you will only use a product on large accounts, you may be able to afford something a bit more costly if it provides more accurate or thorough information. These products can help fulfill the gap left by not having a dedicated skip tracing employee in the office. Along with products specifically designed to help locate debtors, there are other ways to find information on your skips for free. Social media, other websites and government documents may provide helpful information at no cost.

Collection Boot Camp: Skip Tracing Guide

These sources include:. If you are using a service that gets its information from credit reports, you have to have a permissible purpose. The relevant permissible purpose for collection agencies is normally a bill arising from a credit transaction. If you do not have a permissible purpose, you cannot use a service that derives information from credit reports without violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

When you begin your relationship with your skip trace vendor, you will indicate whether you have a permissible purpose, and this will limit or expand the sources of information, depending on how you answer the question of whether you have a permissible purpose.


Many of these tools will deny your company access if there is an indication the systems are being abused. You may be flagged company-wide if one agent attempts, for example, to search for information on celebrities for their own amusement. In cases of suspected abuse of these systems, your agency will be responsible for proof of appropriate action you have taken against the offending collector.

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  • This can mean official reprimand or termination is necessary to regain your access to the tool. Such abusive use of the skip tracing product may also be a violation of law, an support a lawsuit against the agency. This allows her to avoid exposing staff to potentially inappropriate content that may appear on the timelines of those she is searching. This also protects against an employee falsely impersonating a friend to have access to Facebook content only viewable by friends. You can only contact them on one occasion, you must identify yourself by name, and you must disclose who you work for if asked.

    In addition, this disclosure cannot reveal that you are attempting to collect a debt and you should state you are confirming or correcting location information. Does the Debtor Have an Attorney? Using a scoring product can help you to improve the collectibility of your accounts without the cost and time commitment of implementing skip tracing. While skip tracing tools are helpful, having a human touch can be a great asset. This job is not for everyone. So, what are the characteristics that make up a good skip tracer?