A subscription to a credit reporting agency, a laptop with Internet access, a reliable car, handcuffs and a cellphone are essential to skip tracing effectively. While online tools make tracking someone who jumped bail much easier than it used to be in many instances, an investigator still need to be prepared to drive long hours and knock on a lot of doors to find a fugitive.
A lot of fugitives leave traces on social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that can lead authorities to their current whereabouts, so a laptop or cellphone with good Wi-Fi access that a private investigator or bounty hunter can take while traveling helps to check those accounts regularly to look for leads. The phone is also essential if the skip tracer needs to call the police if things turn violent, in addition to following up on leads with friends and relatives of the fugitive.
The credit reporting subscription helps to this end as well, because the reporting agencies monitor bank accounts and financial transactions for the subject, giving the skip tracer updates on any financial activity in addition to the location of where those transactions occurred. Handcuffs are necessary to take the fugitive back into custody, and bounty hunters also frequently carry self-defense tools such as pepper spray or a stun gun with them, depending on the laws of the state in which they are operating.