A process server can do a lot of things for you. They can serve and deliver writs of execution, subpoenas, warrants, divorce papers and more. They can also rush court services, prepare and file documents, and retrieve public records. Process servers can also do something called skip tracing. Skip tracing is a colloquial phrase that describes the process of locating a person’s whereabouts for a variety of reasons, including to collect a debt, deliver court orders or any number of reasons. It’s typically used when someone has “skipped town” and is difficult to locate because their contact information isn’t readily available. Often, they are trying to avoid appearing in court or paying a debt.
Skip tracing can be done by a lot of different people. Bail bondsmen, bounty hunters, repossession agents, debt collectors, private investigators and process servers can all perform skip tracing when necessary. There are also skip tracers, whose primary job is to locate people.
In order to skip trace, the skip tracer must collect data about the person they’re trying to find. The more information they can get, the better. They can look through all kinds of public records to find a person. They collect information about old addresses, phone numbers, credit scores, employment history, job applications, criminal background checks, utility bills, driver’s licenses, vehicle registrations, marriage licenses, courthouse records, loan applications, air travel records, and even department store loyalty cards in order to track someone down.
What’s the difference between skip tracing and surveillance? Surveillance is conducted on a person or persons whose whereabouts you already know. It is used to monitor behavior and activities, often surreptitiously. When doing surveillance, you do not want the person to know that they are being monitored. With skip tracing, you don’t know where the person is located. While you may decide you want to conduct surveillance once they’re found, skip tracing is most often used to issue documents or collect a person.