A Deep Dive into Skip Tracing

According to the United States Postal Service, nearly 30% of “undeliverable-as-addressed” mail comes from people who have moved and failed to forward their mail or update their new address. Though not always the case, many go unaware of their uncollected debts, and that’s where skip tracers come in. 

In collections, skip tracing is a standard method used by many agencies when an individual cannot be found. Whether they have failed to answer calls or emails, skip tracing is the process of finding a missing person who owes a debt that may be difficult to locate, using various techniques to help recover the amount due. Many collection agencies have several debt collection tactics and strategies to go about this process uniquely. Read on for our deep dive into skip tracing with recommended practices for efficiency and our method of maintaining trust, integrity, and reputation within the business and the individual while collecting what is due.

How It Works: The step-by-step process

First, it’s essential to understand skip tracing from the ground up. When an individual fails to pay, there is much more than searching them up and tracking down their previous or current mailing address to get the job done and the amount settled. 

The first step to skip tracing is to make sure that the information provided by the client is correct and up to date to prevent further misinformation or an unclear strategy going forward. By doing so, the agency can directly understand whom the client is searching for, including which individual has missed payments, where the missed payments originate from, how much is due at the current time, and more.

The next step is to collect as much available information by utilizing the various types of public resources and records at the agency’s disposal. These resources include credit reports, background checks, public records databases, courthouse records, utility bills, and more. After sorting through these records, it can often lead back to the start. At that point, it can be helpful to turn to acquaintances of the individual to collect more information. With the aid of social media, there is now an abundance of data available to further facilitate the skip tracing process and obtain what is necessary to follow through.

A common mistake most make is trusting that the information given is completely accurate or current. This often includes misspelled names or nicknames given instead, transposed numbers, or an inaccurate address as we’ve discussed. It’s important to consistently work to verify the information if possible to avoid any other inaccuracies or oversight that may stand in the way between finding the individual. Though they may seem minimal, these errors can cost time and money and prevent an efficient process from the start. 

From here, it’s time to build out a profile for the individual with the data collected. The industry error we often see is many tracers putting in too much information and data that changes the results within the search criteria. When searching, it’s essential to start broad and then work to narrow it down. This step-by-step process will help find more accurate and recent information on the individual and further verify the match. With all of the information now in one place, it’s then time to reach out to make them aware of the outstanding debt, along with a strategy to help them get out of it. 

Evaluating your skip-tracing support

Now that we have an understanding of how the process works, let’s sum up a few tips for tracing relevant data and ensuring your strategy is in line with the best practices. 

  • Collect as much information as possible from the start. As outlined, it’s essential to gather as much information as possible and work from there. The basics such as a full name, social security number, birth date, and last known address will help present a clear jumping-off point when conducting the search.
  • Use various types of sources in a search. To access such a wide variety of information, it’s logical to search in more than one place to create a comprehensive profile. From an individual’s tax ID, employment, criminal, or civil history, credit reports, corporation searches, social media networks, and more, skip tracers can utilize this step in the search to find anything and everything that is publicly available or relevant to the case. These elements play a significant part in locating the individual.
  • Make sure the information is accurate. Lastly, it’s necessary to analyze the information and data collected as the individual’s identity and updated location are confirmed. Examining the accuracy will help rule out any misleading information preventing the streamlined process and eventual findings.
  • Final steps. If it seems that an individual is nowhere to be found, consider hiring a collections agency to collect missed payments. Keep in mind that while conducting this search, it is crucial to maintain the integrity and take an ethical approach in handling someone’s personal information.

The most important part of the skip tracing process is to note that many individuals are not actively avoiding the debt owed, and it’s vital to approach these situations with a strong sense of dignity and respect towards them. At Alacrity Collections, we’re here to help collect what is owed when an individual may be missing payments, but we’re also here to approach it in a way that maintains your reputation as a business while treating the individual with a strong sense of compassion and dignity. 

Hire Alacrity to Manage Your Collection Account

Alacrity Collections is proud to be a leader in debt collections since 1982. Chasing overdue invoices is not an effective use of your time. Let our team help so you can work on running and growing your company. We achieve great results that are over twice the national average and treat all of our customers with dignity and respect. We work tirelessly to protect your brand and improve your net returns. To learn more about our services and get in touch, please call us at 1-800-752-9663 or email us at info@accmd.com.


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