The role of skip tracing in locating recalcitrant debtors

The role of skip tracing in locating recalcitrant debtors

On Behalf of | Jul 25, 2023 | Firm News

Most individuals who take on personal debt are responsible for their financial obligations. They make timely payments and communicate if something occurs that will result in a late or missed payment so that creditors don’t feel the need to engage in immediate collection activity.

Unfortunately, there are also a few people who attempt to engage in fraudulent financial activity or manipulate existing systems for their own benefit. There are some people who go to great lengths to try to avoid collection activity despite knowingly taking on debts that they could not or did not intend to repay. People may change their phone numbers and move into new homes. They may even choose not to rent their own place and live on someone else’s couch to become harder for creditors to track. There are even people who quit their jobs to avoid wage garnishment or collection calls at work. For organizations dealing with a disappearing debtor, skip tracing can be a useful tool.

What is skip tracing?

Skip tracing is a specialized job related to collections that involves delving into someone’s personal, financial and professional records to try to locate them or their assets. Professional skip tracers might contact someone’s family members or prior roommates to try to find out where they currently live or work. They may use social media to track personal activity and credit reports to validate someone’s housing and employment history.

Skip tracers can potentially find where someone lives to serve them with legal notice or track down their current employer so that a creditor can take legal action and garnish someone’s wages. Although skip tracing isn’t necessary in scenarios where debtors acknowledge and attempt to fulfill their personal responsibilities, it can play a key role in helping locate those who have made a concerted effort to disappear to avoid repaying what they owe.

Creditors shouldn’t have to write off debts

With rare scenarios involving individuals who have a significant change in circumstances, such as those who become physically disabled and therefore unable to work anymore, there are very few situations that justify someone taking out a debt and then absolutely refusing to repay it. Although businesses in the financial or retail sectors may recognize that some degree of debt default is an inherent risk of the industry, simply writing off debt isn’t necessarily the right approach. Aggressive collection activity, including skip tracing and possibly litigation, is often an appropriate response to someone borrowing money and then refusing to pay it back.

Exploring every option to locate a borrower and hold them accountable can help creditors demand repayment from those who would prefer to avoid responsibility for their current financial circumstances.