What is a skip tracer? What exactly is skip tracing and how does it relate to bounty hunting?
Skip tracing occurs when finding a fugitive who is not easily located at their residence or typical hangouts. “Skip” references the subject, or person, who is searched for (originated from the idea of “skipping town”) and “tracing,” which references the process of finding the “skip.”
Skip tracing, as a process, is usually utilized used by such professions as debt collectors, private investigators, bail bondsmen, and bounty hunters. Skip tracing is often conducted by a professional “skip tracer” who specializes in skip tracing.
The Action of Skip Tracing
Gathering information pertaining to the subject, or missing person, is the logical first step. The data collected by the skip tracer is processed meticulously to pinpoint the person’s locale. Skip tracing often includes gathering varying pieces of information on certain cases.
Though the Internet is the logical place from which to cull key information on potential locations of certain individuals, “social engineering” is equally important and should not be neglected: contacting individuals who might know important information about the subject.
A good skip tracer will utilize several tools to collect the required information. Skip tracers will often utilize the following types of tools:
- Applications for loans
- Utility bills
- Driver’s license/vehicle registration
- Information on taxes
- Public records databases
- Records at courthouse
- Criminal background checks
- Records of air travel
- Phone number databases
- Credit reports and credit card applications
How Skip Tracing is related to Bounty Hunting
Skip tracing has been commonly utilized within the fields of bounty hunting and bail bonds. Bail bondsmen and bounty hunters often assign skip tracers to facilitate locating people who resisted comply with their bond conditions. It is important to remember that bounty hunters are able to work as skip tracers; however, skip tracers do not work in the same capacity of the bounty hunter role.
Skip tracing involves analyzing data pertaining to the subject while revealing details to facilitate capture of the fugitive. Skip tracers are able to gather important evidence and write up reports that bounty hunters need while in pursuit of a fugitive.
A good skip tracer will know how to go through databases, and conduct proper lead follow-up. The job further entails being able to perform effective interviews.
Skip Tracer Training
Those interested in working as a skip tracer can become aware of state and federal laws pertaining to issues that span from privacy laws to surveillance laws. Those who are interested in jobs as skip tracers often choose a specialty such as collection of debts.
On the job training for groups such as private investigation firms, agencies for debt collection, and bail bond agencies can be a great place to start as a skip tracer.
The American Recovery Association Inc. as well as The National Association of Fugitive Recovery Agents represent a couple of the relevant professional associations that offer training and seminars that are proper for the field. Skip tracing online seminars have proven quite helpful to skip tracers and bounty hunters.
Skip Tracing Jobs Outlook and Salary Information
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes skip tracers as bill and account collectors. As of 2015, this occupation had a median salary of $34,440 per year, or $16.56 per hour.
Skip Tracing is a growing field with new opportunities every year.