What Is Skip Tracing?
Skip tracing is the profession of tracking down people who do not want to be found. The term comes from those who would skip town as a way of avoiding a bad situation, such as paying a debt. The tracing part of the phrase refers to using the clues left behind by the missing person to discover his or her whereabouts.
When you hire private investigators or other professionals to locate someone, they are likely using skip tracing, which is just the name for the set of techniques investigators have used to comprehensively search public records, the internet, and other resources for a person’s contact information. An individual can perform it manually or through a service that compiles reports based on your search requirements, like BatchSkipTracing.
Depending on who the person is and how they went missing, the skip tracer will use several different methods to track down the person of interest. One good way to begin a search is to check communication channels. Social media is a great way to track a person. Skip tracers can not only check for recent posts or pictures which might provide information about the location but they can also use social media to create a list of friends and possible locations that the person of interest might be staying.
How Skip Tracing Works
When someone performs a manual skip trace, all these resources need to be checked separately. For services that compile the data, it’s a matter of having access to the sources digitally and then delivering them to you. This allows those services to collect everything you need from all these separate searches in one report, and that report is ready within just a few minutes of your initial search results coming through.
- Civil and criminal court records, including public arrest reports
- Pre-foreclosure lists
- Tax lien lists
- Internet and social media search
- White pages and yellow pages
- Property ownership
- Credit & debt reporting bureaus
- U.S. Postal Service address records
You might be wondering how much it costs to access this service in light of the cost per day for hiring investigators. Skip tracing is just one part of what investigators do, though, and it is one of the more accessible parts. Access to tracing services can be pretty inexpensive, and you have a choice between subscription services with monthly quotas and pay-as-you-go services like BatchSkipTracing, which offers results for just $0.20 each.
Who Uses Skip Tracing
Many industries rely on skip tracing to find people. Real estate professionals use it to locate property owners and sometimes even investors who could potentially be interested in a property. Debt collection services also rely on skip tracing. Security professionals use it to identify suspicious individuals who only provide partial ID sometimes, too.
Skip tracers also have access to information that the average person cannot get. They can check transaction history on debit cards and credit cards to verify location as well as phone records to see who the person of interest is calling. The skip tracer can also check to see if the person of interest has opened any new credit cards with a new address. Other useful data based include utility records, employment applications, and applications for rental properties or new bank accounts.
In addition to Internet research, skip tracers will speak to the people who know the person of interest to see if they can provide any information. Sometimes previous co-workers or neighbors can provide basic information that could help find a relative or friend who might have more detailed information. This process can be far more time consuming and will require a bit of travel as well.
There are many different reasons that a person could hire a skip tracer to locate someone. Skip tracers have been hired to find long-lost relatives, to find a person who has taken another person’s possession, to help a repossession agent, or even to work with a journalist who is seeking information for a story. Some skip tracers will specialize in a certain area of the field while others will work for just about anyone who is looking for a person who does not want to be found. Hiring a skip tracer offers a much better chance of finding the person of interest in most cases.
Is Skip Tracing Legal
The specifics of the law differ from state to state, but generally speaking, you do have to be a licensed private investigator to perform skip tracing legally. That does not mean you have to be one to get the information or make use of it, though. If that were the case, there would be no point in hiring a private investigator to do the trace at all.
The law turns on whether you are the person performing the investigative task or not because it does have to be done within the bounds of state and federal privacy protections. That means sticking to the public records available and not seeking to gain access to private information. As long as you are hiring a service and not performing skip tracing for others, it is perfectly legal to use it for purposes like generating leads or tracking down individuals who owe money.
Why You Should Consider Using Skip Tracing
It would be worth thinking carefully about this technique if opting in required a significant investment, but it does not. You can sign up for BatchSkipTracing for free, then pay for just the results you request.
- Results for $0.20
- Find off-market leads for wholesaling or investment
- Locate hard to find owners like corporate holding companies and absentee landlords
- Discover which properties in high-demand neighborhoods have motivated sellers
- Locate people anywhere in the U.S. using legal to access public records
- Results in seconds, complete reports in minutes
After all this, it just makes sense to try the service out. You can figure out whether it fits your lead generation model with the investment of just a few dollars, after all. It’s hard to argue that it isn’t worth the risk.