Learn How To Skip Trace Someone
Are you looking for someone? Need a current, accurate address? What are your options, and do they work? If you Google “find someone,” you’ll quickly find that your options are many—some free, some for a fee—and many don’t deliver what you need.
Whether you want to find an old friend, a missing relative, or a person who owes you money, running a skip trace investigation to find that person is your only option. But why should you pay for this?
In this article, you’ll learn how to skip trace someone and we will compare free or low-cost skip tracing options to a verifiable PI-grade skip trace.
Free reports vs. PI-grade reports
You can get free reports about a person from public records, but don’t expect to find too much information there. Most likely, you will get basic information on that individual, like a dated address history, old phone numbers, and some court records, but that’s pretty much it.
If this person has lived at the same address for years and not moved, for example, these free or low-cost services will get you what you need. However, most people needing to perform a skip trace are trying to locate someone who has changed last names from marriage, moved multiple times, maybe to a foreign country, or is purposefully trying not to found. In these cases, you need access to real-time information that can only be accessed through proprietary databases and sources that often require a license to access.
These skip trace or comprehensive reports access the real-time address and contact information at extremely rigorous sources such as credit reporting agencies, cell phone carriers, utility companies, and more. Also, a private investigator can include surveillance in their skip tracing investigation to obtain visual confirmation of the individual.
Raw information vs. processed information
A common frustration people find with public records and other online services is the inaccuracy of the information. Many times, the reports will provide data about the wrong person, particularly with common names. The algorithms used to find information on a person do not subjectively analyze the results. They provide the results based on the search of the missing person’s name and a few other identifiers. They might very well come up with information about a different person with the same name. Therefore, it’s very important an investigator analyzes the information using professional discernment and experience.
At LRI, we take a unique and rigorous approach to our skip traces to minimize the chances of a false positive. After the client provides what information they have on the person, our staff performs a preliminary investigation to confirm that we have the right person. Only after we have confirmed and verified that we have the right person will we run the full report to deliver to the client.
No accountability vs. full responsibility
The various websites and companies out there that provide free skip tracing investigations will take no accountability for the information provided. You will probably find this mentioned in the fine print of the website you’re going to use or the contract you’re going to sign with them (if there will even be a contract to sign!). If they provide the wrong details and you use them, any backfire will be on you.
In short, this is a situation where you get what you pay for.
An experienced private investigator will take accountability for the information provided. They should be able to provide a current address and tell you when that address was last report and by what source. The report should also provide other contact information such as phone numbers and emails. Instead of unreliable, dated information, they will make sure the information is accurate, current, and reliable.
PI-grade skip traces are not just for individuals but can be used by companies as well. Many businesses hire private investigators to find information about customers who haven’t paid their bills, while law firms use PI-grade skip traces frequently to locate defendants for service of process, missing witnesses, or heirs to estates.
To obtain reliable results, skip tracing is more than just googling someone or running a free report. A successful skip trace requires a level of experience and professional discernment, a well-trained eye, and a commitment to obtain accurate results.
Don’t waste your time or money on unreliable results. Call us today, and we will help you locate your missing person.