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3 Essential Tools and Techniques for Effective Skip Tracing

If you’re a business professional and you need to find the contact information for a specific person, skip tracing is the technique you’ll likely employ. The exact reason you need to find this person’s contact information will likely vary depending on your industry.

Skip tracing in real estate, for example, is often used to boost both the efficiency and the success of deals. If you’re an investor trying to get a foothold in a particular area, you don’t have to slowly wait for homes to go on the market to do so. You can use skip tracing to find out who owns properties you like, proactively reach out to them, and make them an offer.

If you’re in debt collection, you probably use skip tracing for different reasons. Here, someone is likely hiding their location to avoid paying money they owe you (or someone you represent). The various skip tracing techniques can be used to find out where they are or where they might be headed, no matter what lengths they go to to prevent that information from getting out.

Of course, understanding skip tracing and knowing exactly how to use it for maximum impact are two different things. To ensure that your efforts look more like the latter and less like the former, there are a number of key things you’ll want to keep in mind.

The Prominence of Online Databases

From the moment we log onto the Internet for the first time, we create a digital trail of breadcrumbs in our wake. Much of this information is eventually collected in various online databases. If you have the time to pour over these resources, there’s practically no limit to what you might find. That’s what makes this such an appealing technique for skip tracers.

If the person you’re attempting to find has a professional or occupational license, for example, there is a record of their last known location for you to refer to. By deep-diving into these sources, you can see the current status of someone’s license. You can see any professional affiliations that they’re a part of. You can see any disciplinary actions that have been taken against them.

These types of databases exist not only for people like lawyers and healthcare professionals but also for state and federal workers as well. Are these databases a guarantee that you will find out exactly where someone currently is with 100% certainty? No.

Having said that, they can still give you more than enough leads to ensure your overall search is headed in the right direction.

The Never-Ending Usefulness of Social Media

Another essential tool that is a part of any effective skip-tracing strategy takes the form of social media.

There are billions of people on various social media sites online worldwide. However, you might not realize that you can learn unique information from each platform in this context.

Any marketer will tell you that Facebook is different from Twitter, which is different from Instagram, etc. People use them in various ways. Therefore, you should take it to different sites depending on which piece of the puzzle you’re trying to fill for your skip-tracing efforts.

Do you want more information about someone’s employment or educational history? They’ve probably posted that kind of information to Facebook (or LinkedIn, if you’re lucky enough for them to be on it). Twitter/X is a great way to look for location-based tags because if they post from a mobile phone, their location information is probably turned on by default.

Instagram is a photo-driven platform, so if you want to see where someone might be or who they have recently been hanging out with, you’d likely want to go there.

This is to say that not all social networking sites are created equal. They all play a valuable role in your skip-tracing efforts, albeit in slightly different ways.

Old Reliable: Public Record Checks

Finally, we arrive at the concept of public record checks. Previously, you would need to go to a local courthouse or similar location to look at things like property records, court records, or even voter registrations. Today, most large cities, in particular, allow you to do so right online.

This is another example of how technology has made skip tracing dramatically easier. Most of these techniques can be performed without ever leaving the comfort of your own home.

Public record checks are beneficial in situations like skip tracing in real estate. They can help you find out who owns a property if any legal disputes occur, where the interested parties currently live, and more. Again, you might not immediately locate the person you’re after, but you’ll have enough information to go on to help make things easier moving forward.

Resources to Locate Hard-to-Find Individuals

In the end, whether a person is missing because they’re just legitimately difficult to find, or if they’ve specifically taken steps to hide their whereabouts, it doesn’t actually matter. They’re still difficult, if not impossible, to track down through normal means.

Luckily, skip tracing encompasses techniques that fall far outside the accepted definition of “normal means.” The average person would be shocked by how much information exists on them not only in online databases and public records but also on places like social media sites. If you had a way to condense that data down into one easily usable source, you’d essentially have a clear view of where they’ve been, where they probably are, and where they are likely headed.

That’s what skip tracing is all about, and technology has only made it easier over time. If you’re attempting to track down a missing person, these are the places you would want to start.

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