The idea that an organization would struggle to collect legitimate debts is not unheard of. Most Americans have debt of some kind, including credit card debt, student loans, and more. Thankfully, most people try to remain in good standing regarding their financial obligations.

Some, however, aren’t so forthcoming.

In those situations, skip tracing can quickly become your organization’s secret weapon. Even if someone has gone to great lengths to hide their current whereabouts, skip tracking can shed invaluable light on where they are, where they might be headed, and more. It’s a technique worth exploring in several industries for a wide range of reasons.

What Is Skip Tracing? An Overview

At a base level, skip tracing involves the fine art of finding debtors who have vanished. It’s not unheard of for someone to evade a legitimate debt simply because they either can’t pay or don’t want to. You can start legal proceedings against them if certain conditions are met – but you must first find them. This is because they have to be notified appropriately. If they’re not at the last known location you have for them, you can assume they’ll claim that they were never properly notified that the debt existed in the first place.

Skip tracing changes all that, however. It makes it easier for you to find these debtors and their payments. It utilizes a wide range of different resources, including ones like public records, databases, and even social media. It distills all available information about a person into a single resource. From there, you can see the “bigger picture” of where this person is or might be so that you can take steps to boost your collections success rate across the board.

Skip Tracing in Practice

If a person has gone to great lengths to avoid being found, you can safely say they’re not enthusiastic about paying whatever legitimate debt they owe (to put it mildly). But even still, there are several ways that you can take the information you find using skip tracing and use it to your benefit.

Once you can reconnect with someone, you don’t have to approach them aggressively. You can reach out, inform them of the debt, and help them set up a repayment plan that works for them. You may get your money slower than you’d like, but you will get your money in the end. This person can clear the debt from their name, and you can (eventually) consider the matter resolved.

Or, say that the major reason why someone avoids debt in the first place is that they simply cannot afford to pay it. If they owe $1000 and can only afford to pay $500, they may assume they have no other option but to disappear into the night. You know this couldn’t be further from the truth – but you’ve never had the opportunity to convey that message.

With skip tracing, you can determine where someone is and make them an “Offer in Compromise.” Let them know you’d be willing to settle the debt for $500 if they pay immediately or by a pre-determined date. You may not get all the money owed, but if the person had successfully disappeared, you wouldn’t have received any of it. This way, you can at least recover something from your efforts and once again consider the matter closed regarding your collections success rate.

Additional Considerations About Skip Tracing

In this context, skip tracing isn’t only valuable in traditional debt collection. Other fields use it for the same purpose, albeit from a slightly different context.

For example, landlords or property owners can use skip tracing in real estate to find tenants who may have “gone rogue” without paying all the money they owe for the damaged property they’ve left behind. It’s not uncommon for someone to argue their way out of paying for damages, which is why security deposits exist. But if the amount of the damage exceeds what you’ve already collected via the security deposit, you may be out of luck if that person disappears.

Skip tracing in real estate can help you find them to get that money back so that repairs can be made for the next tenant. Many property owners and even seasoned investors also find it helpful to use skip tracing to find contractors who may have disappeared after they received payment but before they completed any of the work they were hired to do.

None of this is to say that skip tracing in real estate is only a tool for property owners. In some situations, you may be a tenant who has given money to a landlord for a place to live, only to have the deal fall through. Now, you suddenly find yourself without a place to live. Skip tracing in real estate is one way to locate that tenant so you can get back what is rightfully yours.

Every industry has its unique applications of skip tracing. These are just a few of the many related to debt collection.

A Tool to Put Money Back Into Your Pocket

In the end, skip tracing is about so much more than just being able to collect money that someone rightfully owes you. It’s about leveraging the full might of modern technology to your advantage. Various techniques, some high-tech and some decidedly low, save you an incredible amount of time, resources, and energy as you work to reclaim that money.

The short-term benefit of this is that it helps to significantly boost your collections success rate, thus putting more money back into your pocket where it belongs. The long-term benefit is that you can spend less time worrying about when (or even if) you’ll get paid and more time re-investing those funds back into your business where they can make the most significant impact. That, in and of itself, is the most crucial advantage for most organizations.