What Is Skip Tracing and How Does It Work?

By August 30, 2017missing person & locates

Man Photographing With SLR Camera

Have you ever worried about finding someone who doesn’t want to be found? If you take a look at the hard numbers, there’s a good chance that you will at one point. An astounding 2,300 Americans are reported to go missing every single day. Most of the people that go missing are teenagers and young adults – people that are less likely to do well on their own. Your friend or loved one could be next but what can you do?

Get help from a skiptracer.

A skiptracer is a professional that specializes in the art of skiptracing – tracking down someone using a wide variety of information. The term skiptracing comes from the term “skip” (as in “skipping town”), which refers to the person being tracked down by “tracing” the clues left behind by the missing person.

Depending on how the person went missing or how much information is available, a skiptracer uses several methods of tracking down a missing person, all of which rely on getting critical information about their target.

  • Communication channels – The skiptracer can check for the missing person’s last dialed numbers, most recent social media updates or most recent changes to their contact details.
  • Transaction history – By checking an individual’ most recent purchase history, a skiptracer can narrow down the missing person’s whereabouts based on which stores they’ve been recently been in.
  • Credit card applications – Some missing people apply for credit cards in their new location to get by and a skiptracer can track down an individual’s location based on where they last tried to apply for a credit card.
  • Employment history – A skiptracer can check both public and private databases to see if a missing person has tried to apply for a job anywhere in the country – a clear indication of where the missing person could be staying in right now.
  • Utility bill usage – A skiptracer can also keep tabs on an individual’s location based on how much utilities that person uses within a given time.

In order to increase the chances of successfully tracking down an individual, a skiptracer may even skiptrace another person that could be related to the skip. For example, if a skip previously stayed in an apartment that is currently occupied, the skiptracer may also choose to skiptrace the current occupant in hopes of getting more information about the skip. This practice is known as cross-reference skiptracing.

While skiptracing works great for tracking down missing relatives who might be in danger, skiptracers are often hired for a variety of other reasons

  • Debt collectors frequently rely on skiptracers to track down debt dodgers.
  • On a similar note, repossession agents also get a lot of help from skiptracers when trying to get their property back.
  • Private investigators work hand-in-hand with skiptracers to gather as much intel on individuals for various purposes.
  • Journalists may hire skiptracers to track down certain individuals to get the first scoop of information about them.

What makes skiptracers amazing is that they often have to deal with so much information that it could easily overwhelm an ordinary person. Veteran Manhasset NY private investigator Darrin Giglio says, “The most experienced skiptracers are capable of skiptracing multiple individuals before organizing and cross-referencing a huge amount of information just to get to the skip. In some cases, multiple skiptracers may work together to find a single individual.”

Information is the key to finding missing persons, and skiptracers are the masters of using that information. Now that you have an idea of what skiptracing is, you’ll know who to call in case you want an individual located as soon as possible.


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