Skip Tracing: How We Catch Runaway Debt

November 30, 2020 9:21 pm Published by

The process of sending an invoice is simple: you send it, and your customer pays it.

At least, that’s the way it should be, but sometimes, this simple back-and-forth goes wrong. The mailer-daemon bounces your email back into your inbox, or you receive your bill in the mail with a “return to sender” stamped across the envelope. To get to the bottom of it, you pick up the phone only to find your customer’s number is no longer in service.

If this sounds familiar, you’ve been hit by a runaway customer. They steal away in the night and leave you on the hook for costly bills, rent, and other expenses.

This is a tough situation to be in, especially in this economic climate, but you have options. We can help you locate your customer and recover your debt with skip tracing.

What is Skip Tracing?

Although you may not have heard of skip tracing by name before, you’re probably familiar with the concept.

It’s simple: skip tracing is the art of locating someone who doesn’t want to be found.

The phrase gets its name from the expression “to skip town,” which is another way of saying that someone leaves a place quickly to avoid detection. In the debt recovery world, people skip town because they have overdue debts that they can’t or won’t pay.

Like, for example, the commercial tenant who secretly moved out of your storefront, leaving nothing behind but unpaid rent and costly damages to your property. They, and other skippers like them, are under the misguided belief that starting their life over in a new town is the easier, better option than facing their debt head-on.

While it may work for a little while, eventually, their past comes back to haunt them — especially when you employ skip tracing techniques to find them.

Can You Become Your Own Skip Tracer?

It’s easy to take a customer’s vanishing act personally, so you may want to track them down yourself. Thanks to the Internet, you can find a lot of information on your customer with only a few clicks. Some people make it easier than others if they leave all their social media accounts open to the public.

Lurking these pages may bring up their location if you’re lucky, but chances are, they won’t give you anything more specific than a city or state. For more detailed information, you’ll have to run their social security number to search tax records, vehicle registrations, credit reports, and more.

This is where skip tracing can get tricky for the average person because the best info is usually behind a paywall. Even if you’re willing to pay the money, navigating these records isn’t always as easy as one might think, and there’s no guarantee this investment will pay off. You might end up wasting a lot of time and money for nothing.

What’s more, it may not be legal. Privacy and surveillance laws regulate how businesses and landlords access and share customer and tenant data. You may be inadvertently breaking the law by typing in their SSN and last-known address. If caught, you could be opening a whole other can of worms than simple overdue bills.

It Pays to Go with the Professionals

It may not be time to pull out your detective’s hat and magnifying glass, so switch out these costume pieces for your phone and call us instead.

We’re one of the only national debt collection companies with a private investigator on staff. They lead our skip tracing department, giving us the legal authority to pursue leads you cannot.

Our resourceful team is familiar with all federal, state, and local laws. This experience helps us use both traditional records and online databases, including courthouse records, public tax information, credit reports, vehicle registration departments, phone number databases, and more. 

We also aren’t afraid to pick up the phone and call your customer’s last-known associates. Because sometimes, a 5-minute chat reveals a lot more than what can be found in an out-dated courthouse document.

While on the phone, our debt recovery specialists adhere to our strict “P.H.D” (Preserve Human Dignity) Philosophy to ensure these conversations remain polite, positive, and productive.

We believe compassion makes our job easier. Unlike predatory or underhanded tactics, our respectful methods won’t anger or alienate your customers and their associates. This approach makes it easier to collect debt and preserve your business’ reputation, especially if all our work reveals the debt was unintentional.

There could be a slim chance that your customer misplaces or forgets your invoice before a big move, then proceeds to leave the incorrect forwarding address. According to the USPS, most undeliverable-as-addressed mail comes from people who move without leaving a forward address or who leave an address that’s incomplete, incorrect, or illegible.  

While this comedy of errors is improbable, it benefits from our courteous approach. Your customer will appreciate that you didn’t resort to aggressive techniques over an accident.

We Do More Than Just Locate Your Customer

Locating your delinquent customer is good. Getting them to pay back what they owe is better. That’s why our skip tracing team works hard to negotiate a payment plan once they find the person in question.

Now, a person who’s willing to upend their entire life to skip out on a bill may not be an easy nut to crack. While a simple conservation is often what’s needed to recover most consumer debt, it may not be enough in situations that require skip tracing. These customers may need more encouragement to pay up, and we have some pretty persuasive tools.

Credit Reporting

As a national debt collection company, we leverage credit bureau reporting to convince stubborn customers. If negotiations aren’t going anywhere, we can share these debts to all three major credit bureaus at no additional cost to you. We ensure these accounts are FCRA-compliant, and we also competently handle any disputes.

While you may opt-out of this service at any time, in our experience, someone is more likely to cough up the money when they know their credit score is at risk if they fail to pay.

Litigation

We also have a full service litigation program in case we still can’t recover debt after exhausting all our other options. In the unlikely event that you’ll require this service, you’ll know you’re in good hands.

Our unwavering, firm, yet professional team handles all the necessary litigation claims needed to take your debtor to court. If we believe legal action is appropriate, we turn our efforts over to our affiliated attorneys to file a lawsuit. Meanwhile, we continue the collection process until we’re successful.

Give us a Call

If you can’t find a customer with an outstanding bill, get in touch with us today. We don’t let a relocation, name change, or change in employment status stand in our way. With a licensed private investigator on our side, we can track down elusive customers hiding in any corner of the country.

You deserve to get paid, not ghosted by a delinquent customer. Learn how our skip tracing team works with our AR consulting to reduce delinquencies and write-offs.

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This post was written by Summit A•R

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