What is Skip Tracing?

  • Published
 What is Skip Tracing?

What is Skip Tracing?

National Inquiry Agency explains this term.

SKIP TRACING is an industry term describing the process of locating a person at their place of residence or place of employment. “Skip” refers to a person being searched who has “skipped town”, and “tracing” meaning the act of locating the individual.

In the private investigation realm, it’s modern-day bounty hunting. It’s sifting through a person of interest’s personal information to find out where they have gone, from where they have come from. It’s following the rat’s tail when all hope is lost. Having the skills required to pull off a successful skip trace requires access to multiple databases, obtaining leads and verifying those leads, having the ability to make discreet enquiries, and essentially confirming the address of the target.

Skip tracing is an art form, and not all private investigators are skilled at it.

This is because when National Inquiry Agency is in the process of locating an individual, we understand it is not as simple as punching someone’s name into a database and a result turns up. It’s analysing that person’s age, gender, social-economic background, history of drugs, violence, lifestyle choices and using intuition to figure out where they are likely to land in life.

We do not just look for the individual, we may be looking for multiple individuals surrounding the Subject, such as through relationship status, marital and familial ties, as well as associations through social media that may point or give an indication of where the Subject may be. Skip Tracing investigations are about finding the weakest link, the person that is more likely to give up the location of the Subject indirectly or directly by merely existing, as this person likely has no knowledge of the Subject’s attempts to hide.

Sometimes, databases provide no aide or assistance, and the ‘old-school’ methods are required. For example, in rural or regional areas, where populations are lower and people are more likely to ‘know’ about the local’s business and residential address, local enquiries at the town’s shopping centre, or going to Pub is all that is required to find someone who is linked or that knows the Subject.

The city is broader and requires a different method of Skip Tracing. The local Café beside a business address is a great example and will usually be very forthcoming and verify that the Subject regularly attends the Café to obtain their coffee and knows of their order if they work in the area for example. In order to make these enquiries without giving away that a private investigator is searching for them, a pretext is required.

Pretexting is the art of creating a persona or backstory to make people believe you are someone else without completely stating that you are someone else. It’s a fine line to walk and you need to be very skilled at this. This method allows people to provide you information about the Subject, without the ‘guilt’, so that this Subject may be located and potentially be in trouble.

As you see, there is no one-fits-all solution to locating someone. Skip tracing investigation results are case dependent. It requires practise, skill, and intuition in order for an Investigator to succeed.

National Inquiry Agency have undertaken hundreds of investigations involving skip traces and Subject credential verifications.

If a debtor has done a runner, or you cannot find a Defendant for process serving, contact National Inquiry Agency (NIA). We can help you find this MISSING PERSON!