Skip Tracing Fundamentals

Collections Training Resource
August 23, 2012 — 1,167 views  
Become a Bronze Member for monthly eNewsletter, articles, and white papers.

While the United States' official policy on crime is "innocent until proven guilty," the unfortunate truth is that many people purposely commit credit fraud and try to duck out of making payments. Collection professionals are hired to procure money from people and corporations who are far past due, but sometimes these customers have seemingly disappeared. What happens when one cannot locate a debtor?

The answer is skip tracing, which is an umbrella term for the varying methods collection workers use to track down those fleeing payment. Take a look at some of the following tips when using skip traces to find an individual.

The internet

With the prevalence of social media, email and online search engines, the world wide web is usually the most efficient way to find someone. The best place to start is by visiting Google and typing the said person's name into the query box. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media are all indexed on Google, and more often than not you can find a person's information in a matter of seconds.

Yellow Pages

People forget a lot during the moving process, including informing a creditor, lender or banking company of their new whereabouts. Checking the yellow pages can often yield an address when all else fails.

Credit Reports and Billing History

If you have the appropriate licenses, you'll be able to obtain a credit report on the respective debtor, including information on home loans, credit applications and other financial information. You can often trace this back to the owner due to the mandatory presence of an address or contact point.

The same can be said of a billing history. You can double-check to see if a debtor is hiding out in places where he or she used to live, and also can interview former roommates and family members. While these acquaintances might attempt to protect their loved one, sometimes they will inadvertently drop clues.

Aliases and Nicknames

By evaluating personal documents and interviewing friends and family members, you might be able to discover a few nicknames or aliases that the debtor might use. You can then cross-reference this in an online or government search engine to see if any connections can be made.

Positive Attitude

Skip tracing is often challenging because the person may be purposely trying to avoid you. However, remember to keep a positive attitude - after all, "innocent until proven guilty" still applies in every situation.

Collections Training Resource