The Ultimate Skip Trace List is the backbone of every successful skip tracer. This list covers the basics of skip tracing and a little beyond just for good measure.
It’s an awesome list for background searches and due diligence. The order is a perfect outline to use in documenting research steps and creating reports for your clients. In the list, because I am a repossession skip tracer, the subject is referred to as a skip or a debtor.
If you can’t find someone with this list, they’re either dead, homeless or in witness protection (maybe has a rich secret lover too) because if they were in jail, I’d find them!
Variations on most credit-related reports such as Experian and Equifax. Every name reported to the bureaus is compiled and listed on a credit report, banking report, or other reported used to determine credibility or in collections efforts. These name variations are also reported to databases that buy their data, so you’ll ultimately see this in other search results.
2. Date of Birth
Available on all types of database records and internet searches. List all variations of a birth date.
3. Social Security Number
List variations of a social security number. Discover those variations by searching name, city and state, and all addresses that are known that the skip once lived at, without using any names. This search gives you every single person who has ever lived at that address with personal identifiers.
4. Address History
Run social security number and name and date of birth only through all your databases. Create a residential resume. Note the counties for each address for public records searches online or with a written request to that county.
5. Voters Registration
Search your county voter’s registration online by address only or name only. Some counties will note the record if a mailed yearly registration card has been returned to the county. A good way of eliminating an address on your list of possibilities. Searching address only will give results of every person who has a voter’s registration card at that address.
6. Online Resume
Here are a few resources where job hunters will post a resume. You may not get the current name and address, but you can reply from a generic email and request that the job hunter contacts you.
7. Civil Judgments
Search as a debtor and a creditor. County court record searches in every county where the skip once lived and its contiguous counties. Probate court filings aren’t just for the dead, interested parties and heirs are also named. You may have to go in person to search for these records or view them.
8. Current Criminal Charges and Civil Case Involvement
The arrest list for many counties and police departments is available online. A few of my local newspapers also print arrests and a short description of the criminal offense. When doing background searches, not finding a criminal record doesn’t mean you won’t find an arrest record (just make sure it’s legal to include in a background search in your state). Check the local newspaper to find resources that can be searched by name.
Current criminal court cases are public records too. Contacting the court will give you a court date, bond agency, and the name of the attorney. Same for civil case involvement as a defendant or a plaintiff. Witness lists are also filed in many criminal, civil, and family cases revealing people associated with your skip.
9. Conviction Records
Databases such as Delveopint.com (ask for Scott Kelly), Skipmax.com, SkipSmasher.com, and Publicdata.com (offers only a few states) can give you this. Don’t forget that you must verify and obtain a certified record of you’re doing a background check for employment and possibly tenant screening.
10. Confirm Open Warrants
Call your local bail bond office, the city or county warrants division or check online resources available to the open public. I’ve located upcoming traffic court dates, child support enforcement hearings, and found open warrants that include no bond warrants such as probation or parole violations.
11. Inmate Search
All state, county, and city departments online will provide this at no cost, as well as websites offing mugshot indexing.
12. Sex Offender Registry
You would be so surprised! If I find a registered sex offender not living at the address given by the state I go in person to that address and make a police report documenting the vacancy with an interview of a neighbor.
13. Business or Personal Tax
If a state’s motor vehicle record is unavailable, then personal taxes paid yearly could reveal that person owns at least one vehicle if not several. Construction equipment, office equipment, and location of where the equipment and vehicles are can be located via the county tax assessors online or over the phone.
14. County Clerk’s Office Filings
Those are D/B/A’s, marriage licenses that were obtained (even if not returned), Judgments and liens, property transfers including deeds. Sites that search all public records nationwide are:
Blackbookonline.info is a comprehensive list of state, county, and city search links and is very well maintained.
Also find a complete list of courthouses by state, county, and city:
As a public court record and available in most online database searches alone with credit reports as a public record if the eviction is accompanied with a money judgment. In regards to background searches for the purpose of leasing a residential property, I encourage investigators to examine dates of unemployment against evictions. I disagree with punishing someone for falling on hard times.
16. Federal Tax Lien
Listed as a public record on credit reports. Filed in the county where the person lived, sometimes as a miscellaneous record.
17. Bankruptcy Filings
Pacer.gov has a scan of every document filed in a bankruptcy case. In the original filing, you’ll find the documents that the debtor completed giving a home address, employment, and phone information with a list of all debt and assets. If the debtor no longer works at that job or is no longer living at that address, I always make sure that I let the court know.
New bankruptcy rules are that the debtor must get permission from the court to obtain a loan after filing. I also let the judge know, in writing, that I am looking for a debtor who is in bankruptcy and has post-bankruptcy debt. This action of leverage will get some unwanted attention by the debtor’s attorney and possibly a motion to dismiss by the trustee.
18. Driver’s License
You’d think that a skip wouldn’t update their driver’s license when on the run from the repo man or a process server but, strangely enough, they do. Older folks especially will change their driver’s license to a new address having a false sense of security.
19. Motor Vehicles
I have a favorite database for Texas motor vehicle searches, and I check it often. I run the skip’s name and addresses looking for new vehicle purchases with new addresses. I also look for the paramour, family, and anyone else known to be living with the skip to buy new cars. Finding older cars with new registration is good too.
The Texas motor vehicle records have the main address and a second notification address. Those debtors apparently have no idea that I can see that second address. I don’t plan on telling them either so, shhhhh, it’s a secret!
20. Motor Vehicle Accident Involvement
Run those cars on Carfax.com or Autocheck.com to see a general accident time, no exact date or place will be listed though but you’ll see that an accident occurred. Other details you’ll see are the state inspection, emissions compliance with a pass or fail status, state registration renewals or title transfer, color, dates, and dealership where the unit was offered for sale along with a list of repair work and system inspection done at a certified service center.
When you know what your skip is driving check the local tow line to see when and where the vehicle may have been towed from, doing this may uncover arrest dates and tow truck destinations. If there was an accident an insurance adjuster may have made a visit there and the storage lot would have the adjusters name, phone number, insurance company, and claim number on the file. If there is an insurance claim then the storage lot would get paid from the insurance company so yes, they would have this info on file.
Carfax recently merged My Carfax with Carfax, keeping the service to vehicle owners free of charge to organize maintenance and get reminders for vehicle inspections and renewing registration. For those of us who work in auto repossessions, adding a vehicle to your Garage (can have up to 8), will tell you what garage did work on the vehicle, and a list of repairs or maintenance performed.
21. Driving Record If you have a release then you’ll want to find your resource to obtain these records with your state. There could be some additional paperwork or procedure in order to obtain a driver’s past record with the current status. Since I’m in Texas I use the state link http://bit.ly/texasdrive
22. Wedding Registry and Wish List
Bookmark Amazon.com, Beyond.com, Theweddingchannel.com, and Theknot.com (searches all other online wedding registry listings in one click). Also, check for engagement pages that outline the details of how they met and a timeline for future wedding related dates and locations. A full name search could help here also.
23. Occupational License
Insurance adjusters and insurance agents, collection agency bond filings, state notary license, process server lists, health-related fields, pest control, and the list go on. Look for the list of required licenses with your local government.
24. Workers Compensation Claims
I’ve always known this to be a public record although not publicly available online. Varies by state and you’ll be able to get this with your state Employer Identification Number.
25. Current Military Status
26. Credit Reports
Not getting credit reports? You should be. Not only will you be getting new addresses straight from the horse’s mouth, but you’ll see who else is looking at your skip’s credit and what for.
27. Bank Search & POE Search
Need to verify employment but get referred to TheWorkNumber.com? Ask for the garnishment office instead. Bank searches are easily done by issuing a subpoena to a tradeline for your debtor that’s not in delinquent status.
28. Send Junk Mail
Use Address Service Requested (or another type of ancillary service) with a Post Office box and get mail forwarding information back in your mailbox faster than you can get a mail carrier to complete a forwarding request. Using a cell phone number with TrapCall.com on your mailer can also provide added value to your first-class postage. You never know who may pick up the phone and call you.
29. Make Phone Calls
Use a cell phone that has a known cell phone number prefix and put Trapcall.com on that phone. Known cell phone numbers have higher trust with debtors (they know they’re not returning a business call) and if the outgoing caller ID is blocked, you’ll see it anyway. All you need to do is reject the call, Trap Call then unblocks the number and sends it back to your cell phone. Don’t forget to use self-control so that you don’t tip off the skip to the fact you are able to see their number. You don’t want your target to change it right away.
30. Use Toll-Free Numbers
Did you know that all toll-free numbers are also trap lines? They are! The US government says that if you own a toll-free number and pay per minute usage fees that you also get to see who is calling you.
31. Toll Free Directory Assistance
These types of directory assistance companies can also reverse toll-free numbers. You may not be able to find out who the toll number provider is, but you may find out who the phone number belongs to in the past or present.
When you reverse a phone number on most databases, regardless of the search is a free or paid search, you’re looking at the Line Inventory Database. Of course, you’re trusting that most phone companies update and share this information to keep the caller ID feature on the subscriber’s end updated and reliable.
Ekata.com (formerly Whitepages Pro)
I have a long list of websites which is constantly changing. They offer specialized searches into various social media platforms to easily locate data, images, and user accounts based on location or find the location of a user when a post was made to that account. I will update this section with a link to a helpful list.
33. Corporate Connections
Corporationwiki.com links a person to a company and links company profiles to people and also people to other corporate entities.
34. Real Property Records
Don’t forget when you’re looking for skips to check family home ownership with that county’s appraisal district. Search by name, address, or parcel number. Results can include an additional mailing or notification address. If your skip hit hard times they could have moved in with family. Mobile home ownership is also a public record in Texas, available on a separate website, and is a search that few skip tracers know exists.
35. Concealed Handgun License Search
Some states don’t have a searchable database but do have a way for a person to update an address online accessible by verifying an identifier. This may not be available in all states.
36. Child Care License
Search People who care for children and the elderly could require a health permit, registration, or certification.
37. The Transportation Worker’s Identification Card
Also known as TWIC, is the clearance required in U.S. ports and refineries or other places determined to be high risk for terrorist attacks.
38. Social Security Death Index
Ceased to include deaths after March 2013. Bit.ly/deathmasterfile
39. Set Alerts
Create Google and Bing Alerts For your skip’s name and family members, business names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, and/or events related to your skip.
40. Obituaries and Family Connections
Check out findagrave.com for family members who have passed away, some reveal obituary archives that give names of the survivors give you people that otherwise would remain unknown.
Legacy.com has an alert so that when a person has passed, and funeral services are scheduled you don’t miss the burial. Yes, I’ve had cars repossessed at a funeral service and many process servers have either served at a funeral or followed someone from a funeral. I also use FindaGrave.com to locate deceased family members and look for an obituary that would provide other family members.
41. Reverse Images
Found social media pictures? Search them on tineye.com and Google Images (switch to desktop view on your Android device to easily use this) to find the same picture on other sites. I do this with dating site pictures to find out where the picture may also pop up.
42. Rental Car Receipts
Skip Trace Secrets
This article is copyrighted by Valerie McGilvrey.