What is skip tracing?
Skip tracing is the act of collecting information on a hard-to-find individual in order to locate them. “Skip” derives from the commonly used phrase “to skip town” and refers to the person who needs to be found. “Tracing” refers to the act of tracking them down.
Finding elusive individuals might seem like the work of a detective, but it is an important skill for qualified process servers. Whether a person does not want to be served or lives in an isolated location, it is common for process servers to require skip tracing in order to complete their services successfully.
- Why do you need skip tracing?
- How does skip tracing work?
- How long does it take to complete a skip trace?
- Is it legal to practice skip tracing?
- How much are skip tracing fees?
Why do you need skip tracing?
You might require skip tracing if you need to serve someone who doesn’t want to be served. In an effort to avoid service, they might change addresses or jobs which would make them hard to find. Or you might need to serve someone whose information you don’t have. In this instance, a process server can use skip tracing techniques to find and serve them.
How does skip tracing work?
A lot of skip tracing is understanding where and how to gather relevant information. Skip tracers will often conduct interviews with people who are close to their subject and engage in surveillance. They will also use the internet, searching for a subject’s online presence as well as using skip tracing software and extensive subscription-based databases not available to the general public.
This list shows the type of information a skip tracer provides:
- Driver’s license/vehicle registration and title
- Credit reports
- Credit card applications
- Loan applications
- Job applications
- Phone number databases
- Utility bills
- Flight records
- Department store/customer loyalty card
- Consumer fraud
- Public tax information
- Public records databases
- Criminal background checks
- Courthouse records
- No known heirs estate
- People who are key witnesses in a lawsuit
- Person who owes debt
- Defendant’s absence
On the surface, skip tracing may seem like something you can do yourself but it will cost you time, money, and energy that could be saved by working with a professional. Free internet search services can occasionally be helpful, but the best services will cost you a fee. An experienced process server and skip tracer has access to high-tech methodologies, insider information, and cutting-edge surveillance techniques. Plus, they can call upon colleagues for assistance. Perhaps most importantly, a professional skip tracer will the while abide by federal, state, and local laws, such as trespass laws and privacy laws.