Skip Trace – What it is, and How a Private Investigator can help.


Skip Trace is a fancy term for people location services, where skip refers to a person ‘skipping out’ on something and ‘trace’ being to find them. It can be thought of as a grownup game of hide & seek, but a lot more complicated and one that’s not just limited to grandmas living room or your best friend’s backyard. Typically, Skip Trace is needed if a person has gone MIA on a financial matter or other legal obligation that requires their immediate response, but it can also be used for other reasons. It’s often necessary to locate people who have missed court appearances or skipped bail, and is also used in Process Servicing when legal documents such as subpoenas need to be served to individuals who simply don’t want to be found. Before commissioning a Skip Trace it’s important to have a clear legal reason for seeking the person of interest in order to avoid any legal or ethical ramifications.

Who can conduct a Skip Trace?
Technically anyone can try to find someone, however Private Investigators are often the best suited for Skip Trace Investigations because of the skills, resources and networks they have acquired in their experience through the years to locate people quickly and efficiently. In general, when you need to find someone like this, time is of the essence, and a novice Skip Tracer can spin their wheels unnecessarily when a qualified Private Detective can do the job in half the time, or less.

What Resources are used in a Skip Trace Investigation?
Skip Trace Investigations do require a lot of research and can involve quite a bit of leg work as well depending on how well the person of interest (POI) is eluding everyone. The Investigator will start with the basics, name, last known address, contact information, then search for any other information that can help them to identify the POIs actual current location. This could include previous known addresses, places of employment, what car they own, etc. They connect the dots and pull in various resources to finally confirm the whereabouts of the POI. Some of the resources a PI might use to conduct a Skip Trace are:

  • Public records like property tax documents, court records, etc.
  • Surveillance of places they suspect that the POI might live or visit.
  • Background Investigation including interviews with associates, colleagues, friends, family and neighbors, canvassing of neighborhoods where the POI might be, and looking into criminal records and background checks.
  • Information databases which allow them to find phone numbers, addresses, vehicle information, etc. and other Digital Intelligence Methods including web research, social media analysis, and additional online resources.

If you have a case that requires the location of a person who is making it very difficult to find them, or just want to be reunited with a long lost relative, Skip Trace can help, and Saavedra & Associates is happy to discuss your specific needs anytime. Contact us today for more information.