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Jul 19, 2015

How Skip Tracing Can Help Locate Your Missing Debtor

It can be unbelievably frustrating when someone you trust decides not to pay your loan back and vanishes. We recently helped a client find a friend who disappeared after she mortgaged her home to settle his arrears. Bad debts in business can cripple the owner with negative cash flow. We have solved many similar problems with skip tracing, and decided to chat about how this method can help locate your missing debtor in this blog.


The term is a combination of ‘skip’ and ‘trace’. The missing persons' industry defines it as ‘the process of tracing a person who skipped away from their usual address to avoid being obliged to complete an act or omission’. A skip tracer is a person who does this: so far, so good.

How Skip Tracing Works in Practice

Before addressing the question of how skip tracing can help locate your missing debtor, we should first discuss the methodology behind it. By way of introduction to what can be quite a complex subject, let us first discuss the four steps of obtaining, analysing, reducing and verifying data

1 Obtain Data - The goal of skip tracers is to obtain every single piece of information available about the missing person. This includes hobbies and interests, previous addresses and work history, to mention a few.                                               

2 Analyse Data - As they work through the information, skip tracers build a profile in their minds of the person for whom they are searching. We all tend to follow familiar patterns. Once they know these, they can begin to predict.

3 Reduce Data - The next step is to group the information so like is with like. An experienced skip tracer spots and eliminates duplication. When they complete this step, they have ‘clean’ data but there is still one more left to do.

 4 Validate Data – Some of the data on the skip tracer's desk will be hearsay or copy documents. Their final step is to painstakingly identify what is true and eliminate the rest. This produces a reliable profile of the missing person.

Next, the skip tracer team moves into a creative phase in which they coalesce the information into patterns that suggest where the missing person is most likely to be. This could be in terms of previous addresses, employment career, social activities and so on. After this, private ‘bobbies on the beat’ eliminate the possibilities one by one until they find the missing debtor and advise the client.

How Skip Tracing Can Help Locate Your Missing Debtor in Practice

While you might succeed yourself, assuming you had the time and resourses, it may make more sense to hire in a professional to do the spadework for you before the leads go cold. Please call Missing Persons In Australia on 1300 553 788 if we can help. We can all do with a little assistance when unexpected trouble strikes.

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