Someone owes you money, and now you can’t find them, what can you do? In a year, Titus Law Firm, LLC receives hundreds of calls from clients trying to collect on certain debts and those trying to avoid collection. Overall, understanding the process involved in skip tracing and cyber tracking may be helpful in understanding the process.
The very best way to track a person and/or debtor down is through a skip trace. Skip tracing is a term used by bounty hunters to describe the process of locating a person that cannot be found at their place of residence or usual hangouts. “Skip” refers to the person being searched for (derived from the term “to skip town”) and “tracing” meaning the act of locating the skip. Skip tracing is performed in stages. The first step is to verify the information provided by the client to understand who the subject is and if the client has any misinformation. Then the skip tracer will start collecting as much information as possible about the subject. The information is then analyzed, reduced, and verified. Sometimes the subject’s current whereabouts are in the data but are obfuscated by the sheer amount of information or disinformation.
There is no absolute way to begin a trace, however, the following is a good starting point.
Helpful Information that you may want:
If you are trying to collect a debt from someone, there are two types of information that are really important to know, is the person who owes me money employed? Do they own real property? If you are not sure where someone lives, or if they have recently moved, one of the first places to attempt to locate someone is through real estate records. If someone owns real estate, there will be records of that ownership, and in most states and counties, those records are searchable on line. Search for the Recorder of Deeds site in the County that you believe they reside in.
For example, in Johnson County, Kansas, you can search by name or property address at the following link: https://ims.jocogov.org/locationservices/.
If the person owns real estate, and you have a judgment for the debt, you can put a lien on the property ensuring that the property cannot be sold until you are fully paid.
This may also be helpful in locating a landlord if you know the address. If you learn the name of the landlord, that person can be subpoenaed to get tenant application information which might provide employment information as well as bank information if the tenant pays by check.
Another way to collect your money, is to obtain a garnishment through the person’s employer. To find out if someone is employed, do not under estimate the power of Google. Most staff are on a company’s website. When conducting this search be sure to use variations of a person’s name. For example, for Robert, be sure to also search Bob, Rob, Bobby and Robby, especially in Google or other social media sites. Also, LinkedIn can prove very useful. When using LinkedIn, you should be aware that the person you are looking for may discover that you are looking for them, but it will likely have the person’s current employer and position of employment. Also, when looking at any social media, be careful in how you interact. Any public information is fair game, however, interacting with someone from whom you are trying to collect a debt through social media is not a good idea. It can easily result in violations of the Fair Debt Collection Act. Use social media to locate, not communicate.
Another place to search is court records. Although court records can be anywhere, start with the jurisdiction of their current residence. This can help you determine if someone has other debts already being garnished, or have filed bankruptcy.
For corporate debtors, be sure to search
For corporate information and UCC filings, search the, secretary of state offices. For Kansas, search https://www.kansas.gov/bess/flow/main?execution=e1s1
Attorneys can use the post office to get PO Boxes converted to residential addresses.
Best of luck!
CAUTION: The information in this article is NOT intended to be used for harassment or stalking. Doing so may lead to criminal charges. Titus Law Firm, LLC is not responsible for the way the following information is used.