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No-Cost Skip Tracing Debt Collection Strategies    

Technology has had a significant impact on debt collection with a vast amount of data now available to enhance your efforts – if you know where to look. Unfortunately, it is not always clear how to find information and that’s where Brennan & Clark can help.  

Combining over 50 years of debt collection expertise, Brennan & Clark’s Vice President of Sales, Kim Roland, and Vice President, Frank Carroll, recently hosted an insightful webinar showcasing practical no-cost skip tracing debt collection strategies for use today. In this blog, we discuss some important tools from the webinar that will improve your skip tracing efforts. But first, what is Skip Tracing?  

What is Skip Tracing?  

In the world of debt collection, skip tracing is the process of tracking down hard-to-find debtors that have relocated or ‘skipped’ town to avoid repaying their debts.  

If you are struggling to locate debtors, or to determine a company’s operational status, you are certainly not alone. Without clear indicators like a bankruptcy or dissolution notice, it can be difficult to know how to proceed.  

Many businesses that encounter this issue enlist outside skip tracing services but, in fact, there are plenty of steps you can take to enhance your internal skip tracing efforts for free. Effectively harnessing the power of technology to save your company both time and money.  

3 of The Best Free Skip Tracing Tools  

Beyond tracking down an individual, skip tracing tools are a great way to identify whether a company is currently active and in business – particularly when a company’s operational status is unclear.  

1) Open Corporates 

When a company falls into this gray area, the first step is to check whether they are listed as active with the Secretary of State. Open Corporates is a free website that investigators can use to search all Secretary of State records in one location.  

Rather than checking each Secretary of State’s website individually to find data on corporations or LLCs, you can utilize this one-stop resource to search all 50 states at once. This is particularly effective when a company operates in a different state from the one in which they are domiciled.  

Follow up by confirming information with the appropriate Secretary of State and look out for any discrepancies as this may throw up a different address to the one you have on file. 

2) Department of Transportation  

Another interesting resource for any investigation is the US Department of Transportation. This free to search website lists all companies with a registered vehicle, providing another line of inquiry for company details.  

Often, the phone number listed by the US Department of Transportation is the phone number – even the cell phone number – of the company’s principal.  

That is an interesting lead and any personal information, including the home address or phone number for a company owner, can also be verified using truepeople.com, which is the equivalent of the old white page phone book or 411.com.  

3) Melissa.com  

Finally, with any address data, we would also use a website called Melissa.com to find additional information about that property. This can confirm that the debtor owns a residential home so you can establish its market value. With free access to deed records, you might even discover there is no outstanding mortgage.  

Although you might not be able to pursue the owner of that entity for a commercial debt, the information gleaned is still useful.  

In our experience folks often claim they are struggling financially, however, armed with information from Melissa, you might suggest they obtain a home equity line of credit. Having the facts to hand can catch debtors off guard and often helps negotiators paint a different, more accurate picture when making calls.  

Mining for Information on Social Media  

In addition to these free skip tracing websites, there are several other cost-free strategies you can use to mine for information.  

Social media such as Facebook or LinkedIn, for example, is a great resource. Not only does this list contact details which you can cross reference, but by scrolling through the company’s posts, it may also be possible to spot sudden changes in activity.  

Likewise, workers’ compensation records can provide another key resource where sudden changes in coverage present a red flag. By searching sites such as ewccv.com, it is possible to spot companies who were once diligent about taking out coverage and suddenly stopped carrying it. Even if the Secretary of State lists the company as active because it has not been formally dissolved, information such as this could indicate that the company is no longer operational.   

As these tips suggest, successful skip tracing depends on leveraging all the information at your disposal. At Brennan & Clark, we use all the skip tracing tools listed above, but if you would like to learn more about our tailored skip tracing and debt collection services, please reach out to our team.  

Additionally, if you are interested in accessing the recording of this online webinar or need help navigating the complexities of skip tracing let us know. 

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