How Do I Become a Skip Tracer?

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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 21 January 2019
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To become a skip tracer, you will need to learn about the laws governing the practice of skip tracing in the jurisdiction where you live. Skip tracing is a skill required in many different occupations, including private investigation and debt collection. The process for receiving training to become a skip tracer will depend in part on the career path that you choose. In some cases, you will learn skip tracing skills while on the job, although you may also have the alternative of enrolling in a training program. Depending on the context in which you'll practice skip tracing, you may also need to be licensed before you can practice professionally.

Skip tracing involves searching for people who cannot be located. There are several reasons why someone might pay for skip tracing services. A common situation is one in which a debtor has ignored a creditor's request for payment and the creditor is having difficulty contacting the debtor. Another situation may involve a noncustodial parent leaving town without paying child support. It is also not unusual for professional judgment collectors to use skip tracers to find judgment debtors and locate any assets that could be garnished or seized to satisfy the judgment.


As skip tracer duties are typically performed in the context of a specific type of work, there are several different types of training and search techniques that may be available to you. If you get a job working for a collection agency, for example, you may receive on-the-job training in examining public records, credit reports, and other pieces of information to locate a debtor. Some collection agencies may also secure the services of a third-party training company to provide you with additional educational opportunities. In some jurisdictions, you may need to be licensed to work as a debt collector or to start your own debt collection firm.

If you want to become a skip tracer in the context of doing private investigation work, you may find that you have to complete a structured training program or apprenticeship before you can begin working. Laws regarding the practice of private investigation work can be very rigorous in some areas, and you may need to complete an approved training course as well as a licensing examination before you can become a skip tracer and private investigator. In many cases, you will be expected to demonstrate significant knowledge of privacy laws as well as laws regarding contacting public utilities or other parties to obtain information about someone else.


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