There is no shortage of obscure careers that most people know nothing about. Yet if there weren’t people doing these jobs, more of us would be aware. Take skip tracing. Maybe you’ve heard of it; maybe you haven’t. Skip tracing is a real job you could make a career out of.
Are you familiar with the idea of skipping town to get out of trouble? That concept is the foundation of the skip tracing career. Skip tracers are investigators who track down people who have skipped town to avoid paying bills, making court appearances, etc.
Some skip tracers work independently as private investigators. Others work as employees of debt collection agencies, attorneys, bail bondsman, and other types of firms that need their services. An entry-level skip tracer doesn’t necessarily make a ton of money. But compensation does tend to increase over time. Simply put, the industry rewards experience.
Skip Tracing for a Debt Collector
A good way to illustrate skip tracing is to talk about debt collection. Utah judgment collection agency Judgment Collectors is a specialized collection agency that deals only in judgments. They have their own in-house skip tracers whose job is to track down debtors and their assets.
Judgment Collectors explains that it is not unusual for judgment debtors to do everything they can to avoid paying what they owe. Skipping town and transferring assets into someone else’s name are common tactics. Unfortunately for Judgment Collectors, they do not get paid if they don’t collect. So they have to do everything they can to track down uncooperative debtors.
A skip tracer will utilize public records, proprietary databases, and other means to find debtors who have moved. They will use the same resources to uncover assets debtors are trying to hide. Armed with the right information, Judgment Collectors can contact debtors and let them know that the jig is up. That’s often enough to convince them to pay.
Certification and Licensing Requirements
Becoming a skip tracer doesn’t require a formal college education. But there are licensing and certification requirements in most states. Requirements vary based on how a person wants to work.
An independent skip tracer who works as a private investigator (PI) will almost always need a PI license. A license is easy enough to come by. An individual submits an application, agrees to a background check, and pays a fee. Some states require PI candidates to pass a written exam.
Skip tracers who work as employees usually don’t have to be licensed as PIs. Yet many states still require that they have some sort of certification. Certification requirements vary by state, but more often than not, being certified is similar to getting a PI license. You submit an application and pay a fee.
One last thing to note is that mental fitness is a common state requirement. So in addition to a background check, many states require mental health checks that look into an applicant’s history of drug or alcohol use, mental illness, etc.
What Employers Look For
It is in an employer’s best interest to hire the most qualified candidates to fill skip tracing positions. So even though formal education isn’t required, employers are looking for qualities that suggest a candidate is capable of doing the job.
The job requires good investigative skills. It requires a working understanding of basic technologies like computers and phones. Knowing how to get around the internet is also a big plus. If you can do all those things and you have a license or certification, you can make a career out of skip tracing.