Want To Become a Skip-Tracer?
I often get calls
from people who want to become a Skip-tracers. They ask about how they
can get training, if they can make money from home, and how much they
can make. I'll try to answer some of those questions here.
First - What is it?: Skip-tracing is
not just a matter of running simple searches on some of the specialized
data-bases. Real skip-tracing means that you actually contact the person
you are looking for, or contact a relative or friend to really verify
that they are living and working at such and such a place. It's not like
on those classless "Internet Detective" sites where you pay
good money to get a list of people with the same name in the state. Big
help that is. We speak to the person (or someone who knows them), verify
address and phone, workplace, or whatever is requested.
Second - Types of Skip-Tracing Jobs: Skip-tracers
are hired to locate missing husbands, wives who have run off, and debtors
who owe hundreds of thousands. These are usually tough skips and may
take days or weeks to complete.
A more typical type of skip-trace is for attorneys
who have a list of witnesses of a crime that happened years ago, and
now these people need to be found. We've also been hired by hospitals
to locate former patients who were part of special medical study years
before. There are also real estate investors who scan whole counties
for raw land that is going into foreclosure. They need to find the owner
to offer him some money for the property. Sometimes these landowners
have been absent from the property for decades. We search back through
the years to find relatives and friends, and of course neighbors. The
skip-trace path may take you anywhere.
Oh yes, and the "find the old sweet-heart" request.
These are typically not too difficult. And of course before giving out
the information, we always check first with the "old sweet-heart" to
make sure they want to be found. Skip-tracers have to be careful that
they are not help to stalkers or scammers.
Third - Types of Skip-Tracers: I know
skip-tracers who specialize in locating criminals. Some others specialize
in finding people in other countries. Others focus on locating missing
children. These people usually got into the business out of a personal
concern, something besides just money. My point here is that there are
so very many focuses possible, and you may have a concern or niche that
would be just right for skip-tracing. These are often the most interesting
Fourth - Pretexts?: Pretexts are times
when a skip-tracer pretends to be someone else in order to get the information
you need. Be careful here, because some pretexting is illegal. You'll
need to check your state laws to know about in your area. But basically,
most skip-tracers find it necessary to pretext. If you're looking for
a dead-beat dad, you wouldn't want the neighbors or friends to know who
you are. You would never get the information that way! So skip-tracers
invent some very clever things to say on the phone or in person. I can't
share those here, because the bad guys would then know. But use your
imagination. And if you come up with some good pretexts, call and share
them, and maybe we'll trade you one or two (for amusement purposes only,
Fifth-Money? Do skip-tracers make a lot of
money? Not a lot, but enough to live on, and a little more. Skip-tracing
work can be expensive to do, depending on the job and circumstances.
And of course there are clients who stiff the skip-tracers (or try to).
But skip-traces have an effective network of mutual support. We can always
find the person who stiffs us. Trust us on that.
Back to Skip Trace Articles Page