Skiptracing defined

You’ve probably heard the term ‘skip tracing’, but what does it mean? The phrase “skip tracing” is derived from the old idiom ‘to skip town’, and is used to describe the process of searching for an individual who has,  usually, absconded from the law in some way: think debtors who have defaulted or someone who has skipped bail. Alternately, the missing person could also be a missing heir to an estate who has been lost in the mists of clerical obscurity.

Many different professions may need to use skip tracing to find the person they require, such as repossession agents, bounty hunters, bail bondsmen, and creditors. Though there are many publicly available records that may be used to help trace someone’s whereabouts (like social media analysis or phone number databases), the most useful information may only be available to federal authorities, law enforcement or licensed private investigators, due to the sensitive nature of the data. This may include:

Skip tracing: how the professionals do it

Skip tracing; how the professionals do it

  • Contact info for family members and neighbors
  • Previous address history
  • Cellphone records
  • Credit header information
  • Utility bills
  • Vehicle registration details
  • Driving citations

Typically when someone skips town, there is at least one person in their family or circle of friends who knows their whereabouts. That’s why the contact information for neighbors and family members is so crucial to skip tracing. It’s very uncommon that a person will simply disappear without telling anyone!

Skip tracing is clearly a very labor intensive process which can be a sole occupation, often taken up by private investigators or other credentialed parties who can rely heavily on may different sorts of data.

The authors of the information presented on this page are not attorneys nor are they affiliated with attorneys. The information presented on this page does not constitute legal advice. Before acting on any of the information obtained from this page or any others on this website, please consult your own legal counsel.
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