Disappearing debtors

Disappearing debtors

On Behalf of | May 25, 2022 | Collections

Many consumers who find themselves with heavy debt loads employ many strategies to avoid paying what they owe. Delinquency notices pile in email accounts and mailboxes, leading to the debtor stopping all communications. While sometimes it is accidental due to a last-minute move or other life events, many who owe significant amounts of money deliberately go into “hiding.”

Finding someone who does not want to be found, while not impossible, presents challenges.

Skip tracing challenges

Skip tracing is a complicated process that seeks out the consumer who has delinquent debt. The “tracer” collects information to identify, if not clarify, the latest and most accurate information on the debtor who has relocated or disappeared to avoid their financial obligations.

Data comes from information the consumer provides combined with public records and communication with people they know. Thankfully, the continuing growth of cutting-edge technology offers a path to uncovering a debtor’s location.

Various high-profile companies employ powerful digital tools for their clients that continually update contact lists to locate the “lost” debtor. Information comes from user data to identify the specific location of the consumer via a simple change in contact information that they initiated. Tracers can use the smallest amount of data to uncover a consumer’s whereabouts, from credit files to the tried and true white pages.

Preemptive steps

A more proactive strategy involves financial companies collecting email addresses as an additional way of contacting them when consumers apply for a loan or line of credit. With hundreds of millions of consumers with active and registered email addresses, contact through online communication is possible. However, information on their location is lacking at best, presenting additional hurdles that are difficult to overcome.

Technical tools continue to evolve, hopefully making it easier to locate delinquent debtors, many hiding in plain sight.