Checking the Phone Book
- An obvious way for a skip tracer to locate an individual is through the phone book. A phone book may also provide the names of family members with the same last name. Reverse phone books, which contain all the numbers that do not appear in the standard phone book, can also be valuable resources. Much of the information found in phone books and reverse phone books is available online. In some cases, the skip tracer might call the number claiming to be a friend or co-worker although, if he's working on behalf of a credit card company, he must identify himself as such.
Documents and Licensing
- In some cases, skip tracers can access public records, such as marriage certificates, driver's licenses or traffic tickets, to verify someone's address. Additionally, individuals who make their living working in regulated industries must provide up-to-date records of their home address and place of business to the state. For example, a truck driver's commercial driver's license is often a public record.
- Ex-spouses, friends and associates of the individual in question are often more than happy to share information about the individual, especially if they may be responsible for the bond or other obligation. Sometimes knocking on doors, with a court officer's badge or skip-tracer identification, can elicit useful information although claiming to be a law enforcement officer is both unethical and illegal. Moreover, some relatives almost certainly have an idea of the individual's whereabouts. According to professional skip tracer Ralph Thomas, "Who really knows where he's at: Mom really knows; Dad really knows; Grandma likely knows."
- Many individuals share personal information on the Internet without reservation. Blogs and social networking sites have provided vital information to more than a view skip tracers. Frank M. Ahearn , a private skip tracer, suggests looking "at Myspace, people load up information beyond belief. They put up birth dates, occupation, some list high schools, colleges, fraternity, even better some list cities, states, family members' names and email addresses, not to mention photos."