Magazine article Business Credit

APG Offers Members New Skip Tracing Services

Magazine article Business Credit

APG Offers Members New Skip Tracing Services

Article excerpt

"Skip Tracing" is a phrase that has been part of the credit collector's lexicon for as long as debtors have been skipping town and, simultaneously, skipping payment. It's a practice that, while often bringing some of us as close as we will ever come to feeling like a secret agent, also causes a lot of headaches and unnecessary work.

When a creditor begins skip tracing, he or she uses whatever legal means necessary to locate a debtor that has submitted a phony address and contact information. However, many skip tracers might find themselves tiptoeing on the line of what's legal and what's not, as some of the most popular techniques used by amateur skip tracers can be questionable.

Many skip tracers will begin with the phony name and go from there, looking up the name and others with the same surname, hoping that the debtor chose not to give a completely fake name and that he or she has relatives in the area that can help you locate them. After a list of people with the skip's surname is compiled, then collectors will impersonate someone else, like an old friend of the debtor, and get the relative to give up a hint as to where the debtor is.

This is called pretexting and while it's not technically illegal, it can be construed as such and, even if there are no criminal charges, there could easily be civil ones. It might be for naught anyway, as there's no telling if the debtor's name is completely fabricated and you end up calling people without any information. …

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