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What  is Skip Tracing ?

Do you love solving puzzles, think you might be good at finding people, love a challenge and have an interest in the law, then you might just be perfect for a skip tracing career.  It involves searching for people who cannot be located. Today, most skip tracers are experts at using the many online tools to find people.  Some of the different types of people you might look for could be someone who owes money to a company, or someone who owes back child support.  You might be looking for someone who was a witness to an accident, or a long-lost family member.  Skip tracers often work for a private investigator or bounty hunter, to find a bail bond fugitive.  Skip tracing has often been called "hide and seek for adults". 

The list of people to look for is endless.  The clients that want someone found is endless and the opportunities are great.  Do not take this the wrong way, this is not an easy get-rich-quick job.  It takes hard work to learn what the skip tracing professionals have known for years.  You will learn that this is a very closed and secret society.  The information needed to become one of the professional skip tracers is out there, you just need to find it, learn as much as you can and make the decision that this is the career for you.

High producing skip tracers can average $40,000 to $50,000 a year working for a skip trace firm or law office. There are also skip tracers who work on their own, with a variety of top clients and make $100,000+ a year.  It takes very little equipment to be a skip tracer.  To start, you might only need a computer, internet access, a phone, fax machine, prospective client list, access to search databases and some business cards.  

You will need to obtain a business license or permit from local city, county or state authorities.  There is no federal licensing requirement to, but there are some states that require you to have a state issued skip tracer license.  For example, the state of Michigan (Department of Licensing & Regulatory Affairs), does require you to take a test and obtain a license.

There are other states that do not require a license, while some states require you to be licensed as a private investigator.  If you want to do skip tracing as a private investigator, it is best to obtain formal investigative training and look at the state license requirements for private investigators.

One of the best ways to learn the business is to work for a skip tracing business.  Learn how they search for people and how they obtain their clients.  You will gain experience and make contacts that will prove invaluable if you decide to start you own skip trace business.  To become an expert in this industry you must be willing to learn the trade and build a reputation.  By proving you are the best in the industry, potential clients will seek you out.

Skip Tracing Videos.


Top Two Tools.

The two most important tools any skip tracer must have is organization and being able to focus on their objective.  If you want to be the best in this field you must develop an organizational flow chart that will detail the relevant information you gather and separate it from the trash information.  Otherwise, you will end up with a lot of useless data mixed with the important facts.  This flow chart system will allow you to create a better picture of the ultimate goal.  Always stay focused on the objective and plan ahead.

There is no ultimate flow chart, use what works best and keep the ultimate goal always in mind.  Do not become side tracked by other people related to your skip search (the skip being the person you are trying to locate).  Children, parents and in-laws, related to the skip, can lead you in false directions; so always stay focused.  If you will remember the "top two tools", the information gathered will form a logical pattern.

How The Search Works.

It does not matter if your skip has moved or not, always start a search at the last known address, then move out to search the city first, then the state.  Do not assume that if someone has moved, they have moved out of state.  We are all creatures of habit and like to stay close to family and friends.  If you just enter your skip's name into a search engine without narrowing the location, you will bring up a ton of results.  There are thousands of people with the same name as your skip (it does not matter how unique the spelling).

Obtain as much specific information about your skip, as possible.  You will save a lot of time by having pertinent information prior to the search.  Try to get your skip's date of birth, driver's license number, vehicle description, physical description, social security number, work experience, previous addresses, relatives and last known addresses.  Any of these details will save you a lot of time in your search.

Next, you need to fine tune the search using as many skip tracing tools you can gather.  We offer a lot of free tools, which you can see on our free skip tracing tools page.  There are a lot of additional search tools offered on the internet.  All you have to do is enter the wording "free skip tracing tools" into the search box.  Looking for your skip with utility firms, banks and phone companies will usually turn out to be a waste of time.  Past experience has proven that when a person wants to disappear, they usually put their utilities and assets in another person's name (such as a friend or relative).

There is a ton of information out there.

It is amazing how much public information is available about people.  Public and even private information is available to anyone who wants to take the time to search, or pay the price to data mine firms.  Selling information about people is big business.  Companies like Lexis Nexis, Merlindata and Acxiom Corporation are just a few of the firms that buy and sell personal information.  There are laws that restrict some of this information and only allow it to be available for government officials, law enforcement, private investigators, lawyers, retail, banking and credit bureaus.  This seems like an invasion of privacy, but that is the way the information age works and it is a little late to change it now.

How did these firms gather so much information about us?  You and I gave it to them.  Our personal information is sold by private companies.  This is totally legitimate, as long as the information is not used for illegal purposes.  Guess we need to read the fine print a little closer next time we fill out a lease, buy a car, rent a video, apply for a loan, open a bank account, etc.  You get the idea.

In addition, a lot of our information has been obtained by internet hackers, who have stolen the information to resell it.  There are millions of records that have been stolen from merchants and data mine firms.  If you would like to learn more about how much of your personal information is available, read our article titled "Little Rock, Arkansas, knows more about you than the FBI and IRS combined". . . . . Anyway, for the professional skip tracer this is good news; the field of personal information is wide open.

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