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, (if necessary), or contact a relative, neighbor 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. In many cases, you need to 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 helping stalkers or scammers.

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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 skip-tracing jobs.

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 pre-texting 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, of course).

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.


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