A skip tracer is typically a private investigator or detective who has been hired to find a missing person. Skip tracers may be hired by law enforcement, companies, or even private individuals to search for people that they wish to locate for either personal reasons or legal matters. Skip tracers are not the same thing as bounty hunters. Unlike bounty hunters who recover and apprehend individuals, skip tracers only locate them missing person then report back the location of the person to their client. There are, however, some skip tracers who also work as bounty hunters.
Skip tracers may be hired for numerous different reasons. Some of these reasons include personal or legal matters. The following are the most common reasons for hiring a skip tracer:
- Family members who are searching for a missing person or a possible runaway.
- Individuals searching for a friend or family member from his or her past whom they have unfortunately lost contact with.
- An individual has “skipped out” on a loan. This loan could be anything from money owed to a mortgage company to not showing up for court after being released on bail.
- Law enforcement searching for a missing person who may have been a crucial witness to a crime.
A skip tracer is a very skilled researcher. He or she may go through missive amounts of files and records such as credit reports or public records to help them locate a missing person. The skip tracer may also track down friends or family members of the missing person for interviews to try to get an idea of where the individual may have gone.
Unlike bounty hunters, skip tracers are not legally allowed to enter the residence of a missing person or his or her friends or family to figure out where they may be. Skip tracers are required to obey all privacy laws.