Skip tracing is essentially the act of locating a person’s whereabouts – whether they want to be found or not.
According to Google’s dictionary, “skip tracing” is “the action or practice of locating people who are missing or have defaulted on a debt, especially as a profession.” This might bring to mind the concept of a bounty hunter, which wouldn’t be far off. However, there are distinct differences between the two terms.
“Skip” generally refers to locating the “skipped” person or fugitive. “Tracing” is the act of how one finds out information (through research and databases, for example). A “bounty hunter” is the person who actively goes out into the world to find (or apprehend) the individual. They may also be the skip tracer, or someone else entirely.
A skip tracer does not necessarily use all of the information they find. After collecting their research, they look for patterns which might determine current address, workplace, and other details. This includes looking over records and using online databases and tools to compile reports, which are then given to the bounty hunter.
It is generally legal to bounty hunt or skip trace, provided those who are doing it follow state and federal rules. It is still illegal to commit any crimes of trespass or impersonation (such as pretending to be a previous employer to locate protected information). However, using general ‘detective’ skills is allowed. These includes following up on pertinent information.
How to Skip Trace
Here is a partial list of the databases generally accessed by skip tracers in search of information. To get started, you can do a search of many of these fields at Social Catfish.
- Credit reports
- Credit card applications
- Job applications
- Phone number databases
- Criminal background checks
- Loan applications
- Utility bills (past due or current)
- Courthouse records
- Public tax information
- Public records databases
- Department store loyalty cards
- Air travel records
- Driver’s license/vehicle registration
Most of these details will be impossible to find through a Google or Bing searches alone, as they are housed in databases requiring a higher caliber search: https://socialcatfish.com/blog/how-to-know-its-time-for-an-in-depth-search-specialist/
Initially, find out as much information as possible. Once you do, look for the most current updates. For instance, if a credit card has recently been opened, consider the address connected to that card first and foremost. Or, if you find out current employer or phone number, look for the address near to that employer or area code.
Not sure where to start? Start with the individual’s name at Social Catfish and go from there. You will find phone number along with social media accounts and other details from multiple search engines and databases – which can further provide you with links toward locating location, employer, and more.
If you perform your search and need assistance of an experienced specialist, Social Catfish has Search Specialists to help. Search Specialists can verify all names and access databases not included in regular searches. They are also far less expensive than regular skip tracers or private investigators: https://socialcatfish.com/hire-us/