Skip Tracing Tools and Techniques
by Aaron Nelson on January 06, 2015
You can’t collect debt from a client you can’t find. In certain cases, it may be necessary to skip trace: the process of locating the responsible party in order to initiate the collection process and resolve the delinquency.
Keep in mind that while your debtor may be an entire company, your skip tracing strategy might still be to locate an individual, especially when you’re dealing with a small business.
While it may be that a debtor is intentionally making themselves difficult to find, it’s also possible that the business has changed numbers, moved, has gone through an acquisition, or is simply struggling enough that they don’t have personnel dedicated to answering phones or managing accounts payable.
Here, we’ll give a brief overview of a few skip tracing tools and techniques to aid your search for an unreachable debtor’s contact information.
Build a profile.
The five basic identifiers for any person are the full name, social security number, birth date, address, and driver’s license number. Having a person’s social security number is the best skip tracing technique, especially if they have used any type of credit. You may be able to find where a person lives by looking at the locations of their open credit accounts.
If you can find out what type of work the person does, you may be able to track them down through a business contact or professional license. Other business documents may be available from the county public records department. For example, mortgages, liens on property, partnership formation paperwork, and some real-estate contracts are matters of public record and can be a good source of updates on address information for skip tracing.
It only takes a couple of minutes to search using online directories. Be sure to search multiple areas and states, and, when possible, places where your subject previously lived or may have moved to.
Internet search engines.
This is the information age. The Internet can reveal valuable statistical and personal data about an individual. Thanks to the Internet, cost for skip tracing has lowered due to many state, county, and city government agencies providing public access to information via the internet at no cost.
Social sites are a place where people have made an astonishing amount of information about themselves available to the public. For example, you can conduct a simple search for anyone you wish on Facebook, but unless you have a profile of your own, you’re not going to be able to see very much in your results. If you are not able to locate your subject’s social profile, try looking for a page belonging to a relative or friend of your subject.
Sites like LinkedIn and Plaxo are another great online resources for skip tracing, particularly if you have a rough idea about where your subject may be located. Because these are sites designed for interaction between certain types of professionals, it is also likely to be reasonably up to date. Make certain that while conducting your searches, you’ve used possible variations of your subject’s name or aliases like a maiden name or nickname.
Often, challenges arise when less reliable sources or conflicting information confuse the search, which is why many organizations will seek outside help. Using these skip tracing tools and techniques should help your business find debtors and resolve delinquency.
For more information, or if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at D&S Global Solutions today.