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Skip Tracing

What is skip tracing?

Skip Tracing

Skip tracing is the act of collecting information on a hard-to-find individual in order to locate them. “Skip” derives from the commonly used phrase “to skip town” and refers to the person who needs to be found. “Tracing” refers to the act of tracking them down.

Finding elusive individuals might seem like the work of a detective, but it is an important skill for qualified process servers. Whether a person does not want to be served or lives in an isolated location, it is common for process servers to require skip tracing in order to complete their services successfully.

Why do you need skip tracing?

You might require skip tracing if you need to serve someone who doesn’t want to be served. In an effort to avoid service, they might change addresses or jobs which would make them hard to find. Or you might need to serve someone whose information you don’t have. In this instance, a process server can use skip tracing techniques to find and serve them.

How does skip tracing work?

A lot of skip tracing is understanding where and how to gather relevant information. Skip tracers will often conduct interviews with people who are close to their subject and engage in surveillance. They will also use the internet, searching for a subject’s online presence as well as using skip tracing software and extensive subscription-based databases not available to the general public.

This list shows the type of information a skip tracer provides:

  • Driver’s license/vehicle registration and title
  • Credit reports
  • Credit card applications
  • Loan applications
  • Job applications
  • Phone number databases
  • Utility bills
  • Flight records
  • Department store/customer loyalty card
  • Consumer fraud
  • Public tax information
  • Public records databases
  • Criminal background checks
  • Courthouse records
  • No known heirs estate
  • People who are key witnesses in a lawsuit
  • Person who owes debt
  • Defendant’s absence
Skip Tracing

On the surface, skip tracing may seem like something you can do yourself but it will cost you time, money, and energy that could be saved by working with a professional. Free internet search services can occasionally be helpful, but the best services will cost you a fee. An experienced process server and skip tracer has access to high-tech methodologies, insider information, and cutting-edge surveillance techniques. Plus, they can call upon colleagues for assistance. Perhaps most importantly, a professional skip tracer will the while abide by federal, state, and local laws, such as trespass laws and privacy laws.

How long does it take to complete a skip trace?

The duration of time depends on how easily accessible it is to find the information you’re looking for. Some services take up to 48 hours while others could take up to ten days or longer.

Is it legal to practice skip tracing?

Yes, skip tracing in the U.S. is legal to practice as long as you’re not breaking the law to retrieve the information you’re looking for. Examples of illegal ways to skip trace are obtaining information or accessing private documentation without consent. You must always be honest about what your intentions are and make sure to check your local laws and/or business regulations as some laws may determine what you can or can’t do.

How much are skip tracing fees?

The type of skip tracing service you’re looking for determines the cost of the fee. Fees range from $20.00 to $350.00 depending on the complexity and fees and time the skip tracer incurs but it’s best practice to ask your process server for a quote.

Find a legal support professional

ServeNow.com is a trusted network of local, pre-screened process servers and legal support professionals. To find a professional process server that can help you with skip tracing, please do a search for a city or zip code.

State-Specific Skip Tracers