A Complete Guide To Skip Tracing (With Risks, Benefits, Methodology, & More!) + FAQs

Skip Tracing

Thinking of implementing a skip-tracing process? Want to collect debt amounts they owed to you? Or you by yourself trying to skip tracing.

I’ve explained everything about skip tracing in this article. Delve into the comprehensive guide to learn how skip tracing works.


Skip Trace is a mix of two words. The first word ‘Skip’ refers to the person being searched for, and the second word ‘Trace’ refers to tracking down.

That means a person is being searched for, to track down.

It is a tactic that may be employed by a skip tracer. A skip tracer may be called by many abbreviations, such as contact tracer, debt collector, process server, bail bondsman, private investigator, and stalker.

Even though lawyers, police detectives, and journalists are disguised under the sleeve of skip tracing.

What Is Skip Tracing?

Skip tracing is a method that is applied in a situation when an attempt is deployed to find a person who has relocated or otherwise faded to avoid completing the legal obligations.

In layman’s terms, it is a process that involves rectifying a person’s information, searching public records, and contacting neighbors who may know about the person.

Ironically, skip tracing is used mostly in debt collection and hence used to find a debtor in regard to obtaining correct information or collecting the debt amount that they owe to you.

Other examples of skip tracing may include –

  • Locating someone who was suspected of a crime,
  • Provided wrong information with negative intentions, or
  • Thought to have fled town

The characteristics of skip trace are distinctive and specific from industry to industry. I will come on this later…!

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Who Is Skip Tracing Tactic For?

Skip tracing is an independent concept that can be used or implied by anyone e.g.; a person or entity.

It is for those attempting to locate a person whose contact information is not immediately known or for some reason mismatched – to make things right, collect a debt, or procure for witnesses.

It can be used by a bail enforcement agent, private investigator, insurance provider, lawyer, police, detective, journalist, debt recovery agent, or any person.

What Are The Risks & Benefits Of Skip Tracing?

There are certainly good and bad flaws in skip tracing. In the majority, its benefits dislodge the risks at a glance.

Advantages of skip tracing:

  • Skip tracing doesn’t involve a high degree of skills. This means a normal person can initiate the tracing process by himself.
  • The success rate of skip tracing is very high which is why it is being considered at a glance in critical scenarios such as collecting a debt.
  • It helps find the right information about the person. You can find address history, travel history, court records, credit reports, criminal records, etc.
  • Helps in reducing fraud in the business. It may be possible you have an employee using fake identification to conceal their information. Skip tracing helps identify those.
  • Another benefit of skip tracing is that it can assist to fade bad loans and can help in the collection of payments that are overdue for a long time.
  • It also facilitates smooth financial flow in the business. It ensures that valid information is collected for the matter of collecting payments or others.

Risks associated with skip tracing:

  • One of the significant risks or disadvantages associated with skip tracing is the concept of data inaccuracy. Your money is wasted if you are paying for the wrong or outdated phone numbers.
  • The other risk is gently associated with money. It costs you higher to rent professional skip tracers. Though a high amount of cost is involved, it may disturb your financial decision-making process.

Use Cases Of Skip Tracing

Skip tracing is used in many scenarios, which, are explained below:

1. For Debt Collection

What is skip tracing in debt collection?

In the context of collecting debts, skip tracing is used widely.

The method helps creditors to gain debt amount from the debtors who are hoping to skirt certain responsibilities, such as paying debts.

But it is not so easy. I mean some debtors will show their unwillingness to pay what is owed while others may try to hide.

In this case, hiring a skip tracer is ultimately a savior as they can bring a substantial portion of the amount of what is owed.

As they are professionals, they know what best method can be implemented and how to deal with the situation so the best things can be achieved efficiently.

So, skip tracing may get necessary when or if a debtor is unresponsive. Do remember this!

2. To Get Witnesses For A Case

Don’t be shocked! Yes, lawyers do use the skip tracing method to solve and win the case.

Generally, these cases involve finding people at the request of the client. Though each case is different, the implementation of skip trace also changes with certain parameters including methods and techniques.

If you get confused about what skip tracing for lawyers means? Simply, it means finding the phone numbers, location, and address of a person by any means of mode (but it should be ethical).

You would be surprised to know that lawyers hire professional investigators for skip tracing. It is because they are devoted to this genre for years so they have better experience and resources and could do things at a much faster pace.

3. To Find A Missing Person

Often it is related to police matters and is true because we often run to the police station to report a missing person or if fraud happens.

The authority utilizes skip tracing to find a missing person quickly. For this, they do interviews with known persons or associates, ask various questions to get clues or explore public records such as tax documents, driving licenses, court records, etc.

Given enough time, it helps them to find anyone with the collected information gleaned from their research. In addition to this, they have the means and resources to go further and in-depth about the case if necessary.

Also read: What is Working Capital Management: A Complete Guide

4. Follow-Up On Leads

Real estate agents and agencies take the help of skip tracing for various reasons. It could be for getting new and qualified leads, cleaning older leads, or taking follow-ups on leads.

To be precise, it can help agents acquire new motivated sellers or clean old data that might hurt your real estate marketing strategy. Additionally, it can also help locate a lead that has flushed cold after engaging for a short time.

Overall, skip tracing is helpful for real estate agents with several benefits tangled.

Following is the additional breakdown of professionals that use skip tracing at a glance:

  • Employment & tenant verification services
  • Missing children organizations
  • Insurance fraud investigators
  • Licensed private investigators
  • Law enforcement officers
  • Firms and Plaintiffs
  • Bail bondsmen

Now that you have learned most about skip tracing, let’s delve into how skip tracing works.

How To Initiate a Successful Skip Trace Process?

If you ask what is the skip-tracing process? I would say skip tracing performs in stages.

If you’re thinking about applying skip tracing, it will typically proceed in the mentioned manner

1. Gather complete information about the subject

The first stage of skip tracing involves gathering every possible information about the person you put in the confines to determine.

Gathering information may include his or her first, middle, and last name along with the date of birth, last known physical address, phone number, and email address.

Other than this, skip tracer may also explore, but not be limited to, social profiles, public records, and databases of the subject to collect additional information as much as possible to yield clues about the whereabouts.

2. Verify the collected information

The next step is verifying the information. The collected data is then analyzed and verified by the skip tracer to eliminate outdated information or be sure the information is effective to comply with the end objective.

For example; It may be possible that you are not able to hear from your debtors because you may not have the correct contact information.

3. Contacting the subject’s family and friends

After getting sure that the collected information is valid, you can proceed to contact the subject’s family and friends to locate a person.

Contacting the subject’s close relative members can often help a skip tracer to locate them quickly. Though they may not do so willingly in most cases it is helpful.

You can otherwise also contact neighbors or co-workers as these people can offer influential clues about where suspects can be found.

What Is The Success Rate Of Skip Tracing?

The success rate of skip tracing is exponentially effective. To be said, it boasts a successful locate rate of approximately 94% which is tremendously great.

Many people hire skip tracers that are professionals in this job to solve high-critical cases or business situations like debt collection or fraudsters.

Also read: What is the Accounts Payable Process?

How Much Does Skip Tracing Cost?

Generally, skip tracing costs are affordable. But for some special cases, skip tracers may charge higher fees. That means, there is no absolute fee mentioned anywhere.

To give you a rough idea, it can be anywhere between $100 to $500. However, that still depends on the complexity and time.

To help you, ask skip tracer about their process for a quote.

Final Verdict

Skip tracing helps you get the right information about your debtors and assists you to recover debt amounts. It has been seen as an effective tactic in different industries.

A primitive thing to consider is that it could cost you sometimes higher amounts than imagined because of the quicksand situation.

Though it’s a great tactic recommended by professionals. Do remember, to hire an experienced and well-known skip tracer agent to get your job done.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is skip tracing in debt collection?

Skip tracing in debt collection refers to the process of searching and verifying debtors’ information in regard to contacting people who know the debtors and can help skip tracers locate debtors for recovery.

What does skip tracing real estate mean?

In simple terms, skip tracing in real estate refers to the process of locating or finding potential customers for real estate deals.

Is skip tracing worth it?

Unarguably yes, it is worth it for many professionals such as lawyers, private investigators, insurance agents, police personnel, and bail bondsmen.

What information skip tracers can find?

Skip tracers are professionals and have years of experience in tracing a subject’s full name, physical address, email address, social profile history, earlier life history, family contacts, bank accounts, tax documents, and much more.

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