Magazine article Business Credit

Tools of a Skip Tracer

Magazine article Business Credit

Tools of a Skip Tracer

Article excerpt

Would you go to a dentist if the only tools used on patients were a chainsaw and a chisel? Would you take your car to be serviced by a mechanic whose only tools were a chocolate bar and hairspray? Would you want your child to go to an elementary school that used only information taken from a set of 1964 encyclopedias?

Do You See The Connection?

It is simple, really. Every industry has industry-specific tools; a dentist would never use a chainsaw or a chisel, though, at times, it seems as though they are using one! Professionals seek out the industry-specific tools necessary to successfully complete tasks and assignments. Tools that are not relevant, up-to-date, or specific can slow down progress--or worse, lead to failure.

The questions then become: why is it that those who skip trace do not use tools that are specific to skip tracing? Why would we settle for tools designed for other professionals? What tools are available to the skip tracer? Tools that most of us use are database/search engines, each other and ingenuity. Are there other tools available?

Read on. While I'm not calling this a complete list, because every skip tracer thinks outside of the box and has an incredible imagination, I hope the following will spark some ideas for you. The list will never be completed, and I invite you to add your own ideas, tips and techniques to it.

Caller ID

Use Caller ID on all incoming calls. Caller ID (Caller Identification or CID) is a telephony intelligent network service that transmits the caller's telephone number and, in some places, the caller's name to the called party's telephone equipment during the ringing signal or when the call is being set up but before the call is answered. Typically, CID is transmitted digitally using Bell 202 modulation between the first and second rings. Always ask a debtor for a call-back number so that you can verify whether it matches the number they are calling from. Ask your phone service provider to supply you with a daily report of all in-coming calls; review it in case you have missed a call where no message is left. Check the report for any number you do not recognize; perform a reverse phone number search to identify unfamiliar numbers.

Subscription Databases

Most skip tracers already use subscription databases. They can be very useful for obtaining additional information on your debtor or those around them. Some include:, and There are several subscription databases available--do some research to see which one best suits your needs.

Free Public Information Websites

These websites have gathered tons of links to public record sites and most of them separate information by state. Some examples include:, and

Web-based Filter Databases

On these websites you enter various information of the debtor: public records and other websites are searched and the results are provided in a quick, easy to understand format. Some examples include:, and These really speed up the investigation process.

Comparative Databases

I daydream about a database that would allow a user to enter information about two different people at the same time. With the same process as the other databases, the information is researched on both subjects, then examined for anything that is the same. The end result would be returned to the user. This would enable a skip tracer to determine if there is a roommate, spouse or significant other. The reason I daydream of this is because to my knowledge, no such database exists at this time. However, if it does, please let me know.


Whatever you call them--worksheets, checklists, or forms--they are what an investigator uses to make sure that no stone has been left unturned and every nook and cranny has been checked for information to help locate a debtor. …

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