Judgment debtors are the losing parties in civil lawsuits. They become debtors if their respective lawsuits compel them to pay monetary awards to the winners. And believe it or not, some judgment debtors will go to great lengths to not pay. It is not unheard of for a judgment creditor to employ a skip tracer to help track down a deadbeat debtor.

When would bringing in a skip tracer be appropriate? The experts at Judgment Collectors, a Utah collection agency that works on judgments in eleven states, says that skip tracing is a tool for finding people who are trying to hide. So in a case involving a judgment debtor who moves out of town to avoid paying, skip tracing can really pay off.

Scouring Public Records

Judgment Collectors explains that skip tracing cannot be boiled down to a single task or activity. It is more a collection of tools and strategies skip tracers employ to find their targets. Generally, the process starts with scouring public records. Public records are easily accessible and readily available. Skip tracers will search:

  • DMV Records – DMV records can be helpful for learning addresses and names a debtor might be using as aliases. Records pertaining to drivers’ licenses are especially helpful.
  • Voter Registrations – Voter registration records can provide information about the debtor or any of his relatives. They are a good source of address and phone information.
  • Property Records – Because judgment creditors often need to rely on the threat of asset seizure to motivate debtors to pay, property records are an invaluable resource.
  • Police & Court Records – Publicly available police and court records can help skip tracers learn more about where their targets have been in the recent past. The records sometimes pinpoint a debtor’s current location as well.

The most easily accessed public record is essentially social media. Unless a person’s profile is locked down and carefully managed, there is plenty of information to be gleaned. An experienced skip tracer is intimately familiar with all the major social platforms, how they work, and how to take advantage of them.

Utilizing Paid Resources

Public records can be quite helpful in tracing down a deadbeat debtor. But they are not used in isolation. The most experienced skip tracers also tend to utilize paid resources. For example, think about all of those ‘people search’ websites that encourage you to look up your own name online. You need to pay to see anything of real value. Skip tracers are willing to pay because such sites cut down on their legwork.

Another common paid resource is a proprietary database compiled by marketers, researchers, advertisers, and so forth. These are the same types of databases sales professionals have been using for years to generate new leads.

Specialized Software

If public records and paid resources are not enough, skip tracers have access to specialized software designed entirely around the concept of finding deadbeats. The software gives access to proprietary databases, reverse phone append, reverse email append, and a lot more.

The best such software tools offer advanced features including batch processing and data verification. Armed with a good software package and the right public and paid resources, a good skip tracer will not be held in bay permanently. The target will eventually be found.

It is unfortunate that some judgment debtors decide to skip town rather than paying up. But thanks to professional skip tracers and they are amazing skills, most deadbeats don’t get away with it. They are eventually found and forced to face the music. I’ll tell you this: I would not want to be a skip tracer’s target.

News Reporter