BREAKING DOWN A SKIP TRACE SERVICE

By: Akanksha A. Panicker

Finding a person is a very difficult task, made only more difficult when they need to be served. When a plaintiff brings a lawsuit against a defendant, the law requires the defendant to be served a notice of the court action. This is done so that the defendant has enough time to prepare a defense, and is an important part of due process.

However, what happens when the person being served is extraordinarily hard to locate?

Skip tracing comes in. Skip tracing essentially boils down to locating a person’s whereabouts, the word itself coming from the idiomatic expression ‘to skip town’ [to depart in a haste] and to ‘trace’ the path that they might have taken.  Skip tracing tactics may be employed by a skip tracer, contact tracer, debt collector, process server, bail bondsman or bail agency enforcer [bounty hunters], repossession agent, private investigator, lawyer, police detective, journalist, or by any person attempting to locate a subject whose contact information is not immediately known. Similar techniques have also been used by investigators to locate witnesses in criminal trials.

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