Debt Collections: Skip Tracing
If you are not familiar, skip tracing is the process of locating a person or persons of interest who has "skipped" or left town. Skip tracing services are especially useful tools for debt collectors. When a debtor has failed to answer or return repeated calls and emails, they can use skip tracing to help find/contact the debtor.
Even if a debtor has a physical address to send collection letters to, there is always a chance that the person they are looking for no longer lives there. According to the US Postal Services, about 30% of all "undeliverable-as-addressed" mail is from people moving to a new home and not providing a forwarding address or leaving the wrong address. In those situations, there is no way of informing the consumer about the debt and giving them the opportunity to pay it off.
The Skip Tracing Process
Usually, there are a number of steps involved in the skip tracing process. The first thing you have to do is verify the information provided by the client is correct. Next, you can take your list to a skip tracing service to help you find alternate contact information. The skip tracing service will search through their database which is full of public resources such as:
Criminal Background Checks
Public Records Databases
Most skip tracing companies will work with large lists of names to input into their system, but there are also companies that offer a range of services including batch tracing and single skip traces.
Choosing the Right Skip Tracer
When looking for a skip tracing service to help you with your debt collection needs, there are a few items you need to consider.
Customer Service - Sometimes skip tracing can be more involved than plugging in a name and address into a database. There are a lot of moving pieces and it can be helpful to have someone who can help navigate through the process.
Price - Skip tracing services can range in price depending on who you choose. There are those who offer monthly subscriptions and those who offer pay-as-you-go. It will all depend on how often you choose to use their services. If you want to dip your toes in to vet their services, see if they offer single traces so you can see their accuracy.
Skip Tracing can be extremely useful to debt collectors as they can access a myriad of information faster than the typical debt collector. This type of service can help you find who you are looking for in a timely manner and be able to move on to other projects. So the next time a customer seems "off the grid" after failing to pay a bill, consider looking to a skip tracing company to help track down the money.