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Do PIs Perform Skip Tracing?

People may attempt to hide for any number of reasons. Generally, they’re either criminal or financial.

For example, someone may be unable to pay for their car, a fine they are responsible for or even things like child support payments. Of course, there are numerous reasons unrelated to finances that someone may try to disappear as well. They may have committed or be complicit in a crime or they may simply have something personal to hide.

No matter what their reason is for hiding, it’s generally the same reason why someone is trying to find them. As this task is often more than what the average person is up for, they usually turn to skip tracers to find them.

Explaining the Term “Skip Tracing”

No matter what the reason, when someone decides to leave their home with the goal of not being followed or found, they are often said to have “skipped town.” Someone in charge of tracing that person’s steps, then, has come to be known as a “skip tracer.”

Some people are skip tracers as their fulltime profession. It’s much like being a private investigator or a bounty hunter. People hire them to trace down those who have skipped town.

Unlike a bounty hunter, however, it’s not their job to physically bring the target back.

Unlike a private investigator, finding those on the run is their only service.

Plenty of other professions may employ skip tracing tactics. Besides private investigators and bounty hunters this may also include various debt collectors, repossession administrators (a.k.a., repo men), attorneys, detectives and journalists. Often times, these individuals may outsource the work to an experienced skip tracer.

Skip Tracing Tactics

There are countless ways a skip tracer may attempt to locate their target. Generally, it begins with harvesting as much information as possible about the individual who has skipped town. The method employed will depend on who wants the person found. Often the client will have information of their own to provide, but the skip tracer will be in charge of finding even more.

Gathering information isn’t enough, as it needs to be verified. This is where an actual, experienced skip tracer is so much more helpful than online substitutes that promise results for far less.

Those websites generally cost less than an actual skip tracer because their information is completely unverified. You’re essentially paying for someone else to pull a last known address, maybe a billing address and other information that can be found in the public record.

This kind of information is rarely enough to find them, of course. Which means even if you were up to the task, you’d still be better off contacting a professional. They’ll know how to find everything from loan applications to criminal background checks and any other property they might own.

The Concept of Social Engineering

Successful skip tracers are also proficient at what is known as “social engineering.” In this context, social engineering refers to tactics that employ an understanding of human psychology to withdraw sensitive information from people. It’s the same tool hackers often use in order to gain access to secured data.

In the case of a skip tracer, they’ll use social engineering to gain more information about their target and their possible whereabouts. They may contact, either in person or otherwise, the target’s neighbors, coworkers, family and friends to ask about them. It’s not uncommon for a skip tracer to extract this information under false pretenses.

While there are countless reasons an individual may want to skip town, there are just as many methods for finding them. Of course, if you’re not a qualified professional, many of these may just as well not exist.

If, for whatever reason, you’re looking for someone who skipped town, consider hiring a local, qualified private investigator such as Prudential Associates.  We are licensed and have years of experience finding people who don’t want to be found using a variety of professional investigative methods.  Click here to read more about our services that help find people.