Skip tracing is a technique usually employed by debt collection agencies to track down bad debtors looking to evade payment of debt. Hence skip tracing forms an integral part of debt recovery solutions.
Skip tracing can be literally defined as the technique employed to trace and locate persons who have intentionally or non-intentionally vanished without leaving behind a trail. Such an act of absconding can be due to evasion of financial or legal liabilities.
The factors that are critical for skip tracing include the nature of the case pertaining to which the person is to be located, the time elapsed since last recorded location, resources that may be relevant in tracing, and also the most likely whereabouts of the absconding person.
Collection agencies adopt the following techniques for skip tracing:
Past data or information assimilation. Collection agencies try and collect as much relevant information about the person as possible. This includes:
i. Person’s name
ii. Spouse’s name and occupation
iii. Social security number
iv. Date of birth
v. Address details
i. Educational and occupation certifications
ii. Employment details
i. Driver’s license
iii. Credit report from credit bureaus
Verification of existing records.
All the above-acquired information is verified by collection agencies for authenticity and for exploring any further linkups to new information. Collection agencies, then, employ mining techniques such as tracking credit card transactions, insurance inquires, judicial documents, criminal records, notices from revenue departments, etc. Also used in skip tracing are:
Techniques such as making use of Internet search engines, email directories, public records, etc also help collection agencies in skip tracing
Credit bureaus are the best place to locate the absconding debtor as these agencies maintain their demographic information and their credit history.
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