What is a skip trace investigation / locate service?
what is a skiptrace investigation locate service
It happens to almost everyone at some point in their life when someone they want goes missing. If, you were in need of locating such a person—such as a debtor, a defaulter, or someone you care about, what would you do? How would you locate this person quickly if he/she is completely untraceable? It is a tricky but doable task.
That is what skip trace investigation and locate service are about. Only a professional investigator or skip tracer with a specific skill set can locate the whereabouts of a missing person within a short time.
Let’s take you on a tour of skip-tracing to familiarize you with the nitty-gritty of skip trace investigation and locate service you may need.
Understanding Skip Trace Investigations
The term “skip trace” originates from “to skip down” — an expression used to describe a situation in which someone departs in a rush to a new location and leaves no clues to be tracked down. Thus, the process, of locating the whereabouts of a missing or wanted person is known as skip trace.
A skip trace investigation is used located people who have disappeared. The investigation uses a private investigator to find the present address and whereabouts of the individual. These professionals are called skip trace investigators, and they possess the required skills and expertise for this job.
You may also hire a professional process server to locate a skipped or missing individuals—as many also offer locate services. We can say that process servers are skip trace investigators in disguise, who help find people and deliver them ‘process’ (summons, court notices, or legal documents). They are the best choice for locating debtor defaulters and other skipped individuals.
In some states, detectives, private investigators, journalists, bondsmen, and even lawyers carry out a skip trace investigation to find the individuals. Because it is very likely that a skipped individual does not want to be found, locating them can be a difficult task. You could take on the task yourself, or you can hire a professional to assist you. For example, you may want to locate a debtor who has skipped to avoid repayment on a debt. Such an individual can go to great lengths to “disappear” without leaving any clues behind. You could spend your own time and resources to search for him/her; or you could hire a skip trace investigator or process server, with the necessary professional experience, to get the locating job done.
Skip Trace Investigation Methods
During a skip trace investigation, a skip trace investigator employs various methods and techniques to find the current location of the individual. One technique is the real-time locating technique by which the investigators can locate the individual remotely, and can provide their precise location in real-time.
Regardless of the method or technique tracers use to locate the whereabouts of a person, the skip trace investigator or process server will need information about the skipped individual. This information will lead them to the person in question. To get started, the investigator will interview their client to get all the information they have about the missing person.
Therefore, it is very important that whenever you hire a skip trace investigator, you should provide any and all the information you have about the person.
Besides this, a skip trace investigator also consults other sources to gather maximum information about the skipped person. They may also employ social engineering methods. For example, they can call or visit former neighbors, colleagues, or other contacts to get information about the person without revealing that they are trying to locate the person.
During the process of information gathering and clue finding, investigators may consult social security, utility bills, public tax information, phone number databases or directories, debt collector databases or credit reports, credit card applications, loan applications, criminal background checks, job applications, and many more.
Some of these records and databases are not publicly available. This means that you cannot access them without a search warrant, or proper permission from the authorities concerned. Such permissions can sometimes only be granted to licensed tracers or private investigators. This is another reason why hiring a tracer or process server can be beneficial.
Moreover, the professionals also do online research to gather data about their subjects. Social media platforms—e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn – help a great deal in this regard. In this digital age, it is vital to provide the investigator or process server all known social media platforms the individual uses and their associated user name.
After information and document gathering, an investigator will start narrowing the skip trace investigation by analyzing and verifying all the information they collect about the skipped individual. Verifying all the information piece by piece makes the clues visible, and a story starts emerging that enables the investigator to dig deeper, and located the person.
Sometimes, a tracer or a process server does not t have to go through this lengthy skip trace investigation. They just check the above-mentioned databases and information sources and instantly identify the individual.
When to Use a Locate Service?
If you face any of the below scenarios, strongly consider hiring a skip tracing service:
Seeking a debtor
Looking for a crime suspect who might have skipped town
Finding a missing sibling or a friend
Verifying whether a person is deceased or incarcerated
You may wonder why hire a professional locate service when you can conduct a skip trace investigation yourself. However, a vast majority of do-it-yourself investigations result in a waste of your time and money, and you will likely be disappointed in the results. The reason to hire a skilled and professional investigator or process server is obvious—everyone wins when the work is in the hands of the one skilled to do it.
Besides the lack of necessary skills required to locate a person, there is another critical reason why to avoid DIY skip trace investigation. In order to be justified, skip tracing must follow certain legal parameters. Without solid legal reasoning, skip tracing can be construed as an invasion of privacy or similar scenarios. This may cause legal complications for you. So, it’s the best choice to hire a professional skip trace investigator or a process server to find a skipped person. Contact us today and let us help with your skip trace investigation.