Skip Tracing Tools for Tracking Down Missing People

Skip trace search
Learn skip tracing techniques to find missing persons.

Skip tracing is the process of locating an individual or individuals, often for the purpose of collecting an unpaid debt, bringing the individual to justice, reuniting with a family, serving court documents, or other reasons. Skip tracers work both independently and for business large and small.

Skip Tracing Examples

When it comes to finding people, the services provided by a skip tracer are very similar to that of a private investigator. Examples of services include (but are not limited to):

  • Tracking down someone for debt collections and judgment collections
  • Bail bond enforcement by bail bondsmen (also referred to as bounty hunting)
  • Witness location and expert location for court or legal proceedings
  • Witness interviewing and / or questioning
  • Person of interest
  • Finding a long lost love, friend or family member

The skip tracing process could involve almost any facet of an investigation that entails making contact with a subject.

Skip Tracing Resources

Following are skip trace resources for private investigators. Some of the following resources provide access to national skip trace databases that allow you to use online tools to conduct free skip trace searches yourself.

Accurint – Accurint®, a Lexis Nexis product, is a locate tool that is used by government, law enforcement and commercial customers. Its can be used to locate people, neighbors, associates and possible relatives. It can also be used to access over 50,000,000 non-directory assistance records, including cell phone numbers – Provides free nationwide databases that search for bail agents, bail bonding, bail bondsman, bail bonds, bondsman, bondsmen, bail bonding, criminal lawyers, and private investigators. This site will help any person who has been arrested locate a bail bonds person to write a bail bond, either municipal, county, state, federal or immigration bonds; and locate any jail, any circuit court, county court and/or appellate court.

US Department of State, Overseas Citizens Services – This service will help locate relatives or friends who are overseas when there is concern about their welfare or a need to notify them of emergencies at home. The Privacy Act requires that U.S. citizens over the age of 18 provide a Privacy Act waiver before information about them is released to a third party. Persons in the United States may inquire about the welfare or whereabouts of U.S. citizens abroad by calling the Overseas Citizens Services at 202/647-5225. If you would like more information about locating persons of unknown whereabouts, you may call the National Contact Center toll-free at 1 (800) FED INFO, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. eastern time.

Internal Revenue Service – The IRS may forward a letter to someone when humane reasons are involved. For example:

  • To notify someone of a serious illness, imminent death, or death of a close relative,
  • To seek an individual for a medical study to detect and treat medical defects, or
  • To notify an individual who cannot otherwise be located that he or she is entitled to certain assets.

The IRS will forward a letter from an attorney, estate administrator, or other person who directly controls the assets.

For more information and clarification as to what may constitute “humane” reasons, you may refer to the IRS Handbook 1.3, Chapter 11, which you may find in Other Information Available to the Public. If you would like the IRS to help you locate an individual, place a personal letter addressed to the individual in a blank envelope. Include first class U.S. postage, and do not seal the letter. Place the unsealed letter in another envelope and address it as follows:

Internal Revenue Service
Office of Disclosure Operations
1111 Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20224

SkipSmasher – An online data service for private investigators, collection agencies, skip tracers, judgment enforcement professionals, repossession companies, bail bond agencies, government agencies and others who need to locate hard-to-find persons. It is not available to the general public.

ZabaSearch – ZABASEARCH is a free people search and public Information search engine.

Skip Tracing Books

Skip Trace Secrets – Dirty Little Tricks Skip Tracers Use to Find People Private Investigators Repomen Bounty Hunters Debt Collectors Process Servers Social Tracking (How to Search and Find People) – This book provides some of the tricks, secrets, tactics, tools and methods to finding someone from seasoned skip tracer. This book is great for process servers, recovery agents, collectors and attorneys; experienced and beginners.

Other Resources

Searching for Someone? We recommend Intelius, the leading provider of People Search and Background Check reports. Intelius has an extensive selection of people search reports, background checks, criminal records, court records, real estate and financial reports. Run a Background Check now.


  1. The Social Security Administration will no longer forward mail. So far there’s not been an alternate maneuver to replace this.


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