Skip trace or skip tracing is a process whereby people who have gone missing are located and traced. Many a time people go missing because of bad debts, any kind of crime that they might have committed, mental illness or because of facing abuse at home. They are then located by skip trace techniques and these are largely used by private investigators, police detectives, attorneys and journalist and don’t forget the debt collection companies. Skip tracers locate the missing people in order to locate a possible witness, locate life insurance beneficiaries, lost friends or even a loved one.
There are many sources of information which aids in the skip trace process. Telephone directories, public records, motor vehicle records and property records, are all used to gather information about a missing individual; though with the internet, skip tracing techniques have become far more advanced. Skip tracers may also look into the credit reports like the information given on loan application or in credit card application, on a job application by the missing person & getting out the criminal history with the police. All these factors which help in locating a particular person are known as “identifiers’. Generally, more than one identifier is required for locating the missing.
A criss-cross directory offers a deluge of information for any individual. It gives telephone numbers listed by the serial number, the addresses and even how long the person has been living at the given address, with information on the neighbor as well. These directories can be accessed in any of the city libraries.
Apart from the residential information that the criss cross directories provide, business listings can also prove to be great help in tracing the missing by giving information on the work area of the same.
Before a skip tracer starts hunting for those missing, they determine whether the skip (or the act to go missing) is intentional or unintentional. Those who have gone missing owing to bad debts or some criminal act are generally intentional skips.
In such a case it gets a bit difficult to discover such people because many people know how and where to hide and how to avoid such trials. More often than not such people may also change their looks, making the job of the skip tracers difficult.
Skip tracers generally look into the paper trails a person leaves behind. Credit card usage can provide a plethora of information, by denoting in which areas the missing have been using their credit cards. Similar kind of information can be provided by account transactions. Though some of the sources of information are publicly available, for others a search warrant may be required.
The job of a skip tracer is both a very challenging and gives good rewards financially. A person can hone his skills in a short span of time.