Lesson to learn: “Be As Sly As A Fox, But As Innocent As A Lamb.”
Where Do I Start?
Skip Tracing is not just service that a collection agency can do. It’s not something only detectives can do either. Skip Tracing is a skill that can be learned relatively easy
Anyone can find information about a person if they dig deep enough. The Skip Tracer may need information in order to: Collect Debts, Service Legal Matters, Repossess Something, Locate Witnesses, Locate Missing Persons or Heirs, Find Life Insurance Beneficiaries, Locate People that Property and/or Money is owed to Locate a Long Lost Relative, Friend, or Loved One. The list of reasons why a Skip Tracer may be needed can get very long
Skip Tracing can be a very rewarding job both challenging and financially rewarding. It is possible for a person to learn the trade relatively easy and in a simple way. If you want to get into this subject more, click on the highlighted areas throughout these instructions and check out the things I will be showing you
Locating people who have moved hastily or that have secretly fled without giving notice, and absconded in order to avoid paying debts, some disregarding and omitting what intervenes, or those that are trying to hide from the law, can be located. Those that are “Missing” (for a variety of reasons) can in most cases be found through the paper trails they leave behind
Divorce or Marital Litigation and lawsuits generate a lot of work for Skip Tracers. The service may be needed to help collect on Past Due Child Support or to help bring a Bail Jumper or Convicted Criminal to Justice. Sometimes it is only needed to correct a simple Human Computer Input Error resulting an Inaccurate Address or Telephone Number that is needed for contacting someone. With that said it brings us to the starting point
First thing, we should do is “Categorize the Skip.” The person your looking for is either an Intentional Skip, or an Unintentional Skip. If the person has taken flight from the authorities for criminal acts, or they are not wanting to be found for some reason they are an Intentional Skip, and it is not likely this person will leave behind the typical “trails” that skip tracers look for. Many Intentional Skips are aware of what is necessary, what they must do, to avoid being found
The Intentional Skip avoids lawsuits, and bill collectors by moving around a lot. They may change their telephone numbers and get a Post Office Box to avoid obligations, but usually are not willing to make an entire identity change and will frequently leave a trail that can be followed
If the person is an Intentional Skip and they know how to hide, you just have to hope that person “slips up” somewhere. It gets difficult if the person has taken flight, they are aware of how to avoid paper trails, they do not stay in touch with old friends, family and relatives, they work under the table for cash only, they change their occupations frequently, they dropped all their old hobbies, they took on a new look, and they adopted new behavior patterns.
The following will be helpful in your search:
Subjects Common Name Used (and Alias names)
Spouse’s Name and Maiden Name
Last known Address (and the date it was valid)
Any Previous Addresses (and dates valid)
Last Known Telephone Numbers (and dates valid)
Social Security Number(s)
Date Of Birth (or approximate age if date of birth)
Date Of Birth Of Spouse (or approximate age)
Last Known Employment (Occupation)
Last Known Employment Of Spouse (Occupation)
ID Numbers or Drivers License # (state issued in)
Here are some forms that may help
Forms and Letters
Personal Profile Sheet
Helps keep your search an organized one.
Release of Medical Records
Use this form to request medical records
Request for Birth Certificate
A letter to use for sending a request.
Request for Death Certificate
A letter to use for sending a request.
A simple skip-trace procedure can be done with “Identifiers.” Identifier information is a piece or pieces of personal information about a person that separates that individual from all other persons with the same name. The best identifiers, in addition to the exact full name are:
· Social Security Numbers.
· Date of Birth or Age
· Previous Addresses – Last Known Address
· Identification or Drivers License Numbers
You can go here: Social Security Number Validation, to search what State a Social Security Number was issued in and the date it was issued on. You can Search Public Records also if you have an idea of where the subject may be. You can use a service that can run a search on a Social Security Number (if you have one) or just have the service run a search on the Persons Name and Old Address(s). Both searches can provide tons of information if the Credit Bureau’s have picked up activity on the person. If you just have a name and address, I would use “Address Update“. If you have a Social Security Number, I would run a “Social Search“
The Above Listed Company Charges For Searches on Equifax Credit Bureau Headers for about $4 ea. and Searches Headers on Experian Credit Bureau for about $5 ea. We are not affiliated with that company and if you know of someone that can do it cheaper let me know and tell them I have some free advertising for them
Locating the subject without at least one identifier is not always easy. You will likely be spending a lot of time, energy and effort trying to locate the subject if many other persons have the same name, trying to determine whether it’s the same person you’re looking for.
Don’t overlook checking in your local Phone Book or with the Telephone Information Operator to see if they have a listing. If they do not, ask for Similar Last Named Person in the Same Area you feel the subject may be in. Remember, in most cases they will give two listings for each call to 411, so have any other information you need to check, on hand, so you can save time and money
Listings in the area the subject is in with the same last name, may end up being a relative, (in this business it is called “Getting a Multi” or a Multiple Listing). It’s amazing how many people you can find, and their relatives, right out of the Phone Book. Don’t Overlook The Small Things
A simple call back from a message that was left by you can help you many times if you have “Call Number ID” service on your Telephone. To find out more about the secrets of CNID click here. To obtain pricing information, check with your local telephone service carrier. Many other resources are available to check out or obtain Telephone Number Information
A Criss Cross Directory is a good place to start next. This is a Cross-Index Directory and it can be used several ways. It has Telephone Numbers listed in numerical order showing who the number is listed to, and their address. They can also be used to tell you who lives at an address and how long they lived there, their telephone number along with the same information on neighbors, and how wealthy the area is. The Address Look up Book is indexed by City, and the streets listed are in alphabetical order with street numbers in numerical order
A Criss Cross Directory Can be found at most City or County Libraries. No single library usually owns the complete collection of Cross -Reference Directories covering the whole state. Local directories for their area are most often kept in the larger libraries
Two of the most used Cross -Reference Directories are Haines & Company, and the old standard Cole Information Services’s “Coles’ Criss+Cross,” a division of Metromail Corporation now, and Metromail owned by Experian Credit Bureau (formally TRW), which is a division of Great Universal Stores PLC “GUS” The UK-based Parent Company (The Same Company That Owns The Credit Bureau, Experian, formally TRW). Here is a list of Criss Cross Directories
Remember, Many Criss+Cross Directories can researched or viewed at your local library for free. It costs nothing, and the library assistant should be able to help you if you ask. Even if you are not able to find the listing you are looking for in the Criss+Cross Books, you may stumble on to a lead or obtain information about where the prefix of the telephone number goes to, obtain a neighbors name and telephone number, or a landlord and/or apartment managers contact information. This will give you more telephone leads to call and question, saving you a lot of leg work.
Business listings can give you leads. What line of work was your subject in? Did they have to have a professional license? Their occupation may require they have a professional license and/or permit, and that could provide even more information for your search
You can locate State Permits and Licensing Agencies on Each of the States Main Web Sites. People from the subjects old job may provide leads and valuable information also.
If a local Telephone Book is not available or the Criss Cross Directory does not help, there are Nationwide Telephone Search Engines available like “Reverse Telephone Number Searches” and “People Search Databases”that can be done on the Internet.
Mega-Databases can scanfor a given telephone number, or by name and/or address and provide a wealth of information. Remember, if you are not able to locate the what your looking for, they are great for finding other names listed to an address, or a telephone number. You can run a search on a telephone prefixand obtain the State and City it goes to, plus find out if it is a cellular phone, pager or regular service, who the telephone company is that provides service to the number, and it gets you closer to the subjects “Search Area” with a specific City Name. When starting a search with no good address the skip tracer needs to “Localize the focus” of the search to a few cities. It sure makes the job easier and it can provide information about relatives, friends, neighbors, businesses, landlords, and associations that could be helpful.
I am presuming you have access to the Internet because you are reading something published on the Internet. I am going to focus a little on the wealth of information that is available for free for a moment.
Once you have “Localized Your Search” on the subject to a City or County, you can start looking at the free public records available on the internet. Some of the search engines available can useful for identifying and obtaining even more leads for people and businesses who are usually willing to provide information about the person that you are trying to locate.
It is very important to remember, assuming the person is still alive, that he or she will generally leave some sort of paper trail which can be used to locate them. Gut feelings and hunches should never be over looked either, combined they can be very helpful when some Creative Skip-Tracing is needed.
Always ask yourself questions. It gives you new ideas. If you have or locate the general area the subject is in? Most people have a driver’s license or some sort of ID and Drivers Records are maintained state-by-state. This is public information which can be obtained from many of the State Motor Vehicles Departments.
Most people have a Credit Profile (Credit Bureau Reports that show a history of the credit transactions that a person is making or has made). They have records and files of all sorts of information on people. They get updated when a person applies for a House or an Apartment, Employment Checks, Automobile Purchase Information and Finance Company Information, Medical or Health Insurance Inquiries, Utilities, Water, Gas, Cable TV, Purchases on Credit Cards, Bank Account Transactions, Loan & Credit Applications submitted for whatever, Court Judgments, Tax Liens, Bankruptcy Information, and the list goes on.
Most any skip-tracer (for a small fee) can obtain the Non-Confidential portion of a persons’ Credit Report and in many cases obtain Confidential Information (when used in accordance with the guidelines and laws that govern Credit Reporting and the obtaining of certain types of information from a Credit Reporting Agency. The law is called the “Fair Credit Reporting Act “FCRA”.
Let’s use the State Of Texasas an example of an area you are looking for a subject in. If you are starting at the beginning and you have determined from previously obtained leads, numbers, and addresses the area to start in, or if you know the general area where the person is, you can check with the county clerks office to see if they own real estate.
Counties can be used to obtain Records and Public Information from, for example Texas Countiescan be searched online and the documents could that can be accessed could provide a skip tracer with tons of leads, and other valuable information like: Partnerships, Mortgage Records, Lender/Lien Holder Information, Tax Records, Other names on record and so on. Remember gathering information like Names, Addresses, and Telephone Numbers is key to making contact with these leads to get what you need.
If you feel the person you are looking for may be deceased, an early check with the Social Security Administration Master Death Index would save you many hours of research if your hunch is correct and then you avoid extra work. You can use what I have found to be the Best Master Death Index At This Web Site
The City Police or County Sheriff may have just what your looking for or you could try the City and County Court Records by Locating the Court House in the city or county. Check for a listing by doing a State Search, then the City or County your looking for. You can sometimes obtain helpful information from Criminal Case Records, Civil Case Records, Sheriff Bond Records, Criminal Hearing Records, Civil Hearing Records, Sheriff Jail Records and from City and County Warrants. You can see an example of Denton County Texas on line Public Court Recordsat one of my sites for Denton Texas.
What else do you know about the person? Is he/she working as a licensed or certified professional? In Texas you might want to check the licensing and certification boards. They are different in various states. Do you have any information on any of their relatives, friends, landlords, neighbors, social groups, religious associations, clubs, or old jobs of that person? You may need to contact those leads and see if they can provide you any information
If someone you contact won’t help or cooperate, Don’t Give Up. There are services available to trace phone records from a given person or parties which may lead you to the individual you are trying to find.
Is the person a voter? At the bottom of the page the next link goes to we see an example our local Dallas Texas Voters Registration Recordsand then we can see Some Bankruptcy Court Records Here. You may find information in Bankruptcy Cases Filed or information with the Trustee of the Court, or you may not, but it is a step that should not be overlooked. You can obtain a wealth of information from Bankruptcy Court Records if the person your looking for filed. You can learn more about Bankruptcy Law at this link.Find out more about how Bankruptcies work and you will know what to look for. How easy can it get when you get a list of all the subjects creditors, financial information, and property holdings.
Banking and/or Credit Unions have information on savings and checking accounts but good luck getting anything out of them in a legal way. You can search for them on my All In One Search Engine Web Site and try if you like. Personal Loans taken out and what was bought, Assets, Property Ownership and you may be able to verify or uncover information about a an individual’s past and present character. How about looking at this next link and check out the Corporation Search Databases For Texas ? You can get a list of officers listed and there addresses at a site like this.
Another place to check is the United States Postal Serviceif you have a Post Office Box or if the person put in a change of address? The change of address cards or the PO Box application filled out can sometimes provide ID or Drivers License Information, Other Parties Receiving Mail at the box, a Physical Address, Other Business Names Used, Telephone Numbers and other important locating information. I call Mail Carriers all the time to see if mail was delivered and the Carriers were able to save me a lot of time and in many cases had a suggestions or information that helped me. Have you checked out the Zip Code Searches?
Do you need to check Fictitious Business Listings, The Board of Equalization, UCC Filings? It may help. Did the person pay or owe child support? You may want to check with the State to see if they can help.
Was the person a Pilot? How about checking the FAA Licensing Agency for information. You can sometimes find: The location of person who is a pilot, discover where a pilot has moved to and has become re-licensed, and obtain licensing for airman. Enter a search for Pilot Licensing into The Search Engine to your left.
Was the person in the Military? You can click here and scroll down the page and check all the branches of the military. How about checking out their Military Records or call Veteran Associations, Clubs or Organizations?
Did you Consider thee person may be in prison? Check out the County, State and Federal Prisons?
Are they receiving Workman’s Compensation, State Disability, SSI, SDI, Medicaid, Medicare, Welfare or any kind of assistance? Check it out.
Remember: “Loose Lips Sink Ships.” I have found it to be very true. Some of the best places I have been able to locate people from are: Current and Former Relatives, Friends, Employers and/or Fellow Employees, Doctors, Schools, Landlords, Labor Unions, Utility Companies Licensing Boards Finance Companies Social Agencies.
Women are sometimes more difficult to find than men because they can change their names by getting married or use a maiden name. A search of the Marriage Records or Divorce Records may be in order. The County usually maintains these records.
Other things to keep in mind are: Automobile Titles, Hunting and Fishing Licenses. You can check local records, for example in Texas, Birth or Death Certificate and Marriage Licenses or Divorce Decrees can be obtained from the County & District Clerk’s Office. You can sometimes obtain information that would lead to a subjects parents and the area they live in)
The places you can check will seem endless. Federal Government, Peace Corps, Pentagon, State Departments, IRS, Military/Civilian Employees, Federal Personnel Records, Retired Military, Civil Service, Social Agencies, Suburban Directories, Health Care HMOs * PPOs * POSs * EPOsClaims Departments, Missing Persons Services and Agencies, Partnership Records, Business Financial Reports, Stocks and Mutual Funds, License Plate Trace, D.B.A.‘s, Insurance Companies,and Internet Searches like: Domain Name Ownership, Internet URL address to Name searches, and Email/URL Searches.
When a person or business takes on the IRS in Tax Court, they put their once private financial affairs into the realm of public record. Most of the U.S.Tax Court cases will include the tax returns of the filing party. Tax Court will do name checks over the phone, limited to one name per call. (202) 606-8764
Tracing state issued license plates that contain a federal code: amateur radio and land mobile call signs are easy. Typically Radio operators and State, City, County workers etc…will have either a license plate made with the call sign, or, their call sign will be on their license plate holder on the vehicle. By calling the Federal Communications Commission, you can learn the name, address and date of birth of who the call sign is registered to. (888) 225-5322 or (888) CALL FCC
This is just the basics, and you have to be willing to dig in and find those resources that will make it happen. Read books on locating people, Skip-Tracing, and Investigations, and ask questions. Get to know a few Investigators and ask them to show you a few tricks of the trade. Most of all, “Be As Sly As A Fox, But As Innocent As A Lamb.”