Call Us

PI’s and Skip Tracing – Collect that Debt

Posted on

The Smith Investigation Agency gets all sorts of calls about all kinds of casework opportunities. From infidelity to background checks, we’ve seen a crazy number of situations since the day we first opened our doors.

It might surprise you to learn that one of the types of cases that we handle the most has to do with debt collection. Now, we aren’t debt collectors in the sense that we call individuals to try and get them to pay the money they owe. What we do is a little different, and is what is known in the private investigation industry as, a skip trace.

Private investigators offer skip trace services for many reasons. It could be that you’re looking for a missing family member, friend, or for someone who owes you money. Either way, the purpose of a skip trace is to find people who have left town (‘skipped’), or have disappeared under odd circumstances.

Those who owe money and suddenly vanish into the night certainly rank at the top of the skip trace list. So, how do private investigators help you to get your money back? And how do they go about finding the individual who has seemingly disappeared without a trace?

A Name

Whether you or your company is searching for an individual that has skipped out on paying their debt (or for any other reason) the most important piece of information a private investigator requires from you is: a name.

There is so much digital data available these days about everyone. While some of it is unavailable due to privacy laws, a name is pretty much all it takes sometimes to pinpoint where an individual lives. Even if they’ve skipped town to try and avoid paying their debts, their name follows them wherever they go (in the majority of cases). This makes it very easy for private investigators to find someone who might not want to be found.

Information About the Debt

Other information that a private investigator will need from you is the specific details related to the debt. For example, let’s say that you own a business. You agreed to sell your products to a customer in advance without payment (for 30 days). When payment is due, that customer is nowhere to be found, and neither is your product.

In this situation, while the name of the customer is extremely useful, so is all of the other information you gathered in order to make the sale. Things like address, and even a signature goes a long way in tracking someone down.

This also serves as a reminder that it’s just good business practice to have a contract, or written agreement in place between you and whoever it is that you make a deal with. Verbal agreements leave no paper trail, which make it a little more difficult for a private investigator to track the individual down. Verbal agreements also make it much more difficult to prove that the person owes you money once they’ve been found.

Online Search

Once a private investigator (or private investigation firm) obtains a name and any other information they can about the individual, they turn to the Internet and other databases for their skip trace search.

In most cases, private investigators will find the person’s complete address history, in addition to where they have worked, and their phone number. Even if the information is no longer valid, they provide a trial for the private investigator to follow. After all, the individual likely has family, friends and/or coworkers that might know their whereabouts.

It might seem rather silly, but in addition to databases and other sources, private investigators and private investigation companies have started to turn to social media for their information. The number of people with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat accounts is astounding. What’s even more astounding is the incredible number of individuals who owe money that update their social media with all sorts of information on a daily basis.

Social media makes it much more difficult for an individual to hide, but makes a skip trace search much easier for the private investigator!


Any good private investigator in Canada will tell you that patience is just part of the job. Sometimes it takes only a few hours to conduct a skip trace. In other situations, where the culprit is savvier, it could take weeks if not months to find them.

Either way, it is very difficult for an individual to disappear completely, and a good private investigator or private investigation company will know how to run a successful skip trace. Ultimately, a private investigator’s job is to help people solve a problem. This is why we take skip tracing, especially when debt is involved, so seriously.

Looking for skip tracing services? Our private investigators offer help in finding individuals who owe you money all across Canada including, Toronto, the GTA, Ottawa, Barrie, Oakville, Burlington, and more. Contact us today to work with one of the best private investigation agencies around:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *