Ever tried looking for someone who went into hiding? If so, then you’ve probably worked with a private investigator. Back in the day, it can be terribly frustrating to find someone who doesn’t want to be found. But as long as you have a legal basis for finding the person of interest, then a private investigator can use skip tracing to help you out.
Skip tracing is the process of locating someone who has left or “skipped” town. Its widest application is in debt collection, but it can also be used to find missing friends or relatives, subjects of legal proceedings, missing heirs, important witnesses, and customers who failed to pay a business.
Skip Tracing And Where It’s Heading
[pullquote]There used to be a time when private investigators needed to do everything manually.[/pullquote] This included going to the location, speaking to friends and family of the POI, and calling references. All of this requires so much time and effort. Thankfully, the art of skip tracing has come a long way. While public records such as court records and property tax documents still prove useful, many now rely on open source intelligence and investigator databases to skip trace.
Working with more information at the beginning can significantly speed up the process of finding a missing person. Knowing even just the date of birth of the person can go a long way in your search. A good way to obtain basic information is by using “people databases.” These databases are designed to provide more information from the initial information you have. Investigators particularly like using databases with historical data to help with tracing spouses, housemates, and business details.
Open source intelligence methods have also become increasingly popular. These include the use of social media analysis and deep web research. [pullquote]Given the fact that nearly everyone with internet access uses social media, it’s hard for anyone not to leave some kind of digital footprint.[/pullquote] This can be as simple as a Facebook account that’s no longer used by the person. Helpful information from this account can be retrieved to aid with the search.
Other online sources can also be used for skip tracing. Crawling the deep web, for instance, can return a list of information that may not be seen using a quick Google search. Navigating the complex world of the internet proves challenging, but it’s a necessary skill for a successful skip trace.
Combining the old school methods with the new now make up the modern art of skip tracing. Doing things manually is a thing of the past. Critical parts of the process can now be automated, at least to some degree. This can save a lot of time and make the search more efficient.
It’s worth noting, however, that not all skip tracing cases are equal. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, as different factors come into play which makes some cases more challenging than others. If you find yourself in need of the services of a professional skip tracer, be sure to choose someone who complies with industry regulations, has a history of successful cases and charges reasonable rates.
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Author Bio: Tech addict, the explorer, liv