Debt Collector Skip Tracing Techniques

Debt Collector skip tracing

English: Skips multipack and single pack. UK snack food. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Skipping Town on Debts is not Easy

Debt collector skip tracing involves finding people who want to avoid their debts by “getting lost”. These debtors are referred to as “Skips” in the debt collection industry.  This comes from the age old expression “to skip town” as used to refer to those who think that if they somehow succeed in getting lost to society for a while that will resolve their debts or whatever other problems they may have.  It should come as no surprise that this process of getting lost in society is not as easy as it used to be.  Debt collectors now have an enormous number of resources at their disposal.  The only real question is whether the debt is large enough to be worth expending the resources to chase it.  If the debtor is found will it be collectible anyway?  Will a determined chase simply result in bankruptcy?

Skip researching typically begins with an examination of the NCOA, the national change of address registry of the postal service.  Family members the target has a history of living with will be targeted.  Nearly 25 percent of millenials have moved back with Mom and Dad after graduation.  Twitter handles can be run through  This is a rich source of information even for teenagers, especially if it is geolocation enabled showing where past tweets originated from.

How Much Debt Collector Skip Tracing is the Debtor Worth?

The more money you owe the more vigorous will be the debt collector skip tracing efforts to track you down. The amount of the debt is weighed against a “Collectability Score” that is put together to determine the likelihood of collecting the debt even if you are found. Everyone leaves tracks in a variety of ways that they may not be aware of.  Debt collectors have access to databases that the rest of us do not have access to.  They can legally pry into data aggregated and sold by many companies if they can show a “permissible purpose” under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley and FCRA laws.

Who has Data for Debt Collector Skip Tracing?

The big 3 Credit Reporting Agencies Experian, Equifax and Trans Union as well as Lexis-Nexis have a wealth of data on everyone with a credit score.  The debt collector skip tracing will start with the easy stuff that the credit reporting agencies have like past and present addresses, phone numbers, applications for credit cards and loans, payroll information, post office forwarding, Email addresses and other social network indicators.  People living at old addresses such as bitter ex spouses, unfriendly neighbors and local busy bodies frequently love to spill what they know for their own reasons.  Other sources include:

  • Driver’s License and Registration
  • Legal records
  • Criminal records
  • Tax information
  • Utility bills
  • Forwarding addresses for mail or for return of rent deposits
  • Traffic tickets

Categories of Skips

Skips fall into roughly 4 categories

  1. Debtors who moved and simply forgot to notify the creditor
  2. Debtors who intentionally did not provide certain information
  3. Original Creditor may never have collected complete information through oversight
  4. Fraud on the original transaction against an innocent consumer or the deliberate use of false data
Debt Collector Skip Tracing Has an Arsenal of Modern Weapons

Those skips who have had some success up to a point at eluding detection are referred to as “Deep Skips”.  When a determination is made that the amount owed coupled with the probability of collection warrants extra effort the debt collector may hire private detectives and retired police officers to aggressively pursue the case.  There are electronic systems that perform systematic searches at regular pre-determined intervals of social security numbers, cell phone and unlisted phone accounts, as well as motor vehicle and drivers license information.  If the skip has a fairly unique name (not Smith or Jones for instance) a search of a widening radius starting at the last known address for that name will be performed.

“He Can Run, but He Can’t Hide”— Boxer Joe Louis referring to his re-match with Max Schmeling




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After practicing law for 37 years Edward F. St. Onge, Sr. now devotes all his time to helping consumers achieve a high credit score with amazing speed. Learn the counter-intuitive secrets to credit scoring through his down to earth instructions backed by extensive knowledge of the laws and trends. All of the latest tricks and techniques that they don't want you to know now at your disposal. At last a level playing field for the consumer!

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