DEFINITION OF ‘SKIP TRACER’
A professional who tracks down individuals who don’t want to be found. A skip tracer traces the information available about someone who has skipped town. Skip tracers use public and private databases to obtain addresses and phone numbers where the individual might be reached as well as contact information for employers, neighbours, friends and relatives who might know an individual’s whereabouts. In difficult cases, skip tracing involves creating a detailed profile of the person to be located, including their appearance, hobbies, medical conditions and any other information that could be valuable in tracking them down.
INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS ‘SKIP TRACER’
A skip tracer’s job often entails finding someone who is trying to avoid a legal or financial obligation, such as a court date or debt payment. Skip tracers also track people down so they can be served papers for a lawsuit.
In more pleasant cases, skip tracers find people who aren’t aware they have been left an inheritance or who have unclaimed assets.
Skip tracers also track down missing assets. For example, if someone buys a car using a loan, stops making payments, then hides the car so the lender can’t repossess the vehicle, the lender could hire a skip tracer to find the missing car.
Skip tracers may specialize in different areas, such as hard-to-locate recoveries where previous investigators have failed.
Skip tracers fill a role that law enforcement agents often don’t have the resources to handle. Becoming a skip tracer does not require a degree or certification, but skip tracers need to be experts in state and federal laws regarding privacy and surveillance. Private investigators are often hired as skip tracers. Bail bondsmen, bounty hunters and repossession agents may also act as skip tracers. Skip tracers get paid when they track down their targets. In some cases, they may also be entitled to a reward for finding a wanted criminal.