Understanding Skip Tracing: A Key Element in Holistic Debt Collection

Debt collection is an intricate process that involves various strategies to recover outstanding balances. One crucial aspect of this process is skip tracing, the art of tracking down individuals who have gone “off the grid” or become difficult to locate. This process employs a combination of investigative skills, technology, and databases to find debtors who have changed their contact information or purposely evaded collection attempts, and can often be necessary for successful debt recovery.


Key Techniques in Skip Tracing:

Public Records and Databases:

  • Skip tracers leverage public records and various databases to gather information about a debtor. This includes property records, court records, and utility records that might provide clues about the debtor’s whereabouts. A good skip tracer also has exclusive access and subscriptions to more extensive record-keeping databases.


Social Media and Online Presence:

  • With the prevalence of social media, skip tracers often turn to platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram to find information about a debtor’s current location, employment status, or any activities that may reveal their whereabouts. Skip tracers can also cross-link aliases and other names to find online activity in different public forums or social media. 


Interviews and Communication:

  • Skip tracers may contact friends, family members, or associates of the debtor to gather valuable information. Building a network and communicating with people connected to the debtor can provide insights that aid in locating them.



  • In certain cases, skip tracers may resort to physical surveillance to monitor the debtor’s activities and determine their routine or current residence. However, all skip tracing needs to follow all state and federal law. Skip tracers must be careful not to harass any parties. This isn’t necessary and can cause further complications in retrieving debts during court proceedings.


In the world of debt collection, skip tracing stands out as a powerful tool to locate elusive debtors. Despite this, it can often be avoided altogether by talking to a debt collector early in the process. By embracing a holistic approach to debt collection and starting efforts before a debtor disappears, can reduce delays and increase successes.