During tough economic times, debtors will sometimes relocate without giving creditors their new address. Creditors or debt collectors must begin looking for debtors with a process called Skip Tracing. They will check all available sources within their repertoire. If a creditor is unable to speak with a debtor, it can limit their collection efforts. Locating a debtor can sometimes be as easy as calling directory assistance to get a phone listing. The collection process begins once a debtor is located.
There are a few ways that a creditor can do some in-house skip tracing that are quick and inexpensive, if you don’t have software that your Collection Agency will have and use for more in-depth searching.
1. Gather up as much information that you have on the person you are looking for, S.S.#, birthdate , Previous address, drivers license, These are good places to start.
2. Review the credit application or the information that was given at the time of service, these will provide a great deal of information that can be used to locate them. Call the phone #s several times sometimes a phone # can be disconnected and then reinstated.
3. Contact the place of employment. If you call the debtors place of employment, someone may be able to let you know where he/she is working now.
4. Take a look at the Social Security number. The first three digits of the S.S. # will tell you what state the debtor was living in when their S.S # was issued , can be found on-line at www.mrfa.org/ssn.htm
5. Call the personal references or other names that were given in the information at the time of service. Creditors use references only for the purpose of calling the debtor when they cannot be located. According to the Fair Debt Collections Practice Act , references can only be called to obtain location and contact info.. Creditors cannot let these contacts know they are calling about a debt. Some creditors move in with personal references they provide when times get tough
6. Check whitepages .com, a website that helps you search for people. Enter the persons first and last name. You will also need to enter the city, state and zip code where the debtor last lived. This website may pull up a new address as well as a phone #. The age of the debtor will also show up. Sometimes other relatives or associates will show up as well. You can also check Spokeo.com, we have found this site to be very informative.
7. Send written correspondence to the old address. If the debtor filled out an address change form at the post office his address will be updated. The creditor will receive a post card from the post office with the debtors new address
8. A Criss–Cross directory may help you as well, it can be found at most Libraries and its free to use. The book lists phone #s and info about the location of the number.
These are a few resources available to you free of charge, Remember that if these don’t work, you should send the accounts over to your Collection Agency so that they are able to help you at the next level of skip tracing in which they will utilize their skip tracing software and other available tools that they have access to. These are tools that your agency is paying for and is at no cost to you, as a client. Happy Skip Tracing.
For more information about PRP, download the PRP Information PDF.