Strategies for Finding the Missing Debtor

Collections Training Resource
June 10, 2013 — 2,054 views  
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The greatest nightmare for a creditor is finding the missing debtor. If the missing debtor(s) can be located, the chances of recovery might increase. There are several strategies for locating the debtors using skip tracing tools, which include address search, first sweep, collection report, file one phones, collection recovery tool, credit profile report, social search, MetroNet, address update, and true trace. Each of these strategies may be used alone or in combination. 

Skip Tracing and Legal Obligations

When a creditor is trying to locate a missing debtor, he is actually locating a hidden asset. However, this asset is a real person with constitutional rights guaranteed to him/her. So, the skip tracing tools must honor their individuality, privacy, and the rights they have as a citizen.

In other words, finding debtors using tracing tools must comply with laws on “Fair Debt Collection”. That is to say, no matter which tool you are using to trace a defaulter, you cannot use deceptive, unfair, and abusive practices to identify the missing debtor. Additionally, you cannot contact the debtor after 9 in the evening and before 8 in the morning, unless they permit you to. You cannot contact the debtor at his/her workplace unless they agree to be contacted.

If you are contacting a third party to find out about the missing debtor, that person can be contacted only once. But you should not state the reason for trying to contact the debtor.

Popular Skip Tracing Tools

There are many skip tracing tools to be counted. All of them claim to locate the missing debtor. Many of these tools are the same with different proprietary names to locate a hidden asset. TrueTrace uses unique combination of information such as contact data and wireless phone number.

Address Search, as the name suggests, may provide the debtor’s address, while FirstSweep uses critical data including deceased records and bankruptcy. The Collection Report tool claims the highest chances of recovery. The Collections Recovery Tool can identify business owners, telephone numbers, and alternate addresses. 

File One Phones is claimed to be more accurate and a more effective method than ordinary directory assistance. They have over 220 million consumer phone numbers. Credit Profile Report claims to use search and match technology to access comprehensive locator information. MetroNet has over 19 million businesses information. Additionally, their data bank has more than 150 million household data. Social Search actually uses SSN to identify the debtor.   

Skip Tracing and Internet

The onset of technology has made skip tracing more widespread and efficient. This has been made possible by the World Wide Web. The Internet has made it possible to access data in real time while the www is the store house of data. This makes skip tracing an ideal tool to access the location and other details of any missing debtor.

The range of information available on the Internet can be truly huge to miss a potential hidden asset. Information on the Internet is stored in the form of huge directories such as voters’ registries, marriage contracts, personalized accounts, and social security numbers, among several more.

In addition to the data bank available on the Internet in various forms, social media and social networking sites are great places to hunt for a missing debtor. Almost everyone is present on one or more social media sites making it possible to access them, their location, and their activities.

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