Skip tracing is the practice of tracking down the location of people who are difficult to find without the help of an investigator. Skip tracing also describes the act of skipping from one source of information to the next during the process of finding someone.
Professionals use skip tracing techniques in the fields of law enforcement and private investigation. Bounty hunters searching for people who skip out on bail also employ skip tracing tactics. One technique used by skip tracers is contacting people who have come into contact with the missing person. Information about a person can often be gleaned from family, friends, former employers or business associates. Public and commercial record databases provide an abundance of information as well. Skip tracers often perform criminal background checks, go through court records and gain access to credit reports. If necessary, a skip tracer obtains a subpoena to check information that's normally private, such as utility accounts and Social Security records.
Skip tracing investigations may be initiated by lawyers to find witnesses for a legal case or by debt collection agencies seeking payments. To begin the process, skip tracers commonly need information, such as name, date of birth and last known address.