I am often asked about the best way to find someone who, for one reason or another, has disappeared. More often than not an attorney, trying to find a defendant, a needed witness or a debtor, poses the question. In our business, this is called Skip Tracing or Subject Locates.
In fact, attorneys are our biggest skip tracing and subject locate clients simply because most lawyers are too busy to spend the time trying to find someone who has disappeared. The reality however is that even if an attorney has the time to do a subject locate, most simply don’t have the skills. Skip tracing is as much an art as it is a science.
The interesting thing is that when someone disappears it’s not typically a very sophisticated undertaking. These folks don’t obtain new identities and go deep undercover using spy craft worthy of a Le Carre’ novel. In most cases skip tracing subjects simply move and often not even out of the area. Of course they might move several times over a fairly short period of time, but they are, in effect, hiding in plain sight.
But for an attorney who needs to contact them or serve them papers, even the most unsophisticated subject can be extremely difficult to track down. Lawyers and attorneys that try to do their own subject locates generally rely on databases to find the missing people. More often than not, they will turn this tedious and painstaking task over to a paralegal or office administrator, who really doesn’t have the time or the skills to conduct a proper skip trace.
Speaking from experience, even someone hiding in plain sight can be difficult to find, unless you are trained to find them. And regardless of the fact that there are many databases that can be used for this purpose, locating a subject by using only a keyboard and monitor is often futile.
When we conduct a skip trace or subject locate for a lawyer, we use a team of former local, state and federal investigators. These professional “finders” gather human intelligence, as well as using proprietary information gathering sources. An active investigation of this kind also includes using a wide range of available databases. Our team has over 100 years of combined investigatory experience—subjects can run but they can’t hide.
Because we are located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, many subjects disappear into Philadelphia where they can get lost in the shuffle or over the river to another state. If you’re using only electronic databases, as many skip tracing or subject locate firms do, chances of success are significantly diminished. But since our investigators can go anywhere, they can find someone anywhere. The human intelligence aspect of the skip tracing process is the most important one.
As the economy struggles, financial challenges force many people to do desperate things. Some people steal to make ends meet and some simply flee their obligations. Attorneys are most often the ones who need to find them. My point is that conducting a successful skip tracing or subject locate engagement is a matter of skill and expertise as much as it is diligence. Because of our focus on the human intelligence component as developed by seasoned, professional investigators, our success rate for skip trace and subject locates is much higher than most other private investigation firms.
The bottom line is this: lawyers and attorneys are trained to practice law. But when a skip trace or subject locate is necessary in the practice of law, it’s a much better idea to hire professionals to find the missing person. Contact Know It All Intelligence Group today for a free consultation. Knowledge is Power, Safety is Priceless.