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Skip Tracing Rules And Regulations For Businesses

What is Skip Tracing?

BatchData offers a staggering amount of data for skip tracers to take advantage of. With more than 325 million records available containing more than 10 billion data points aggregated, we have served more than 45,000 businesses. As of right now, we cover 99% of the U.S. population.

But those are just numbers. We have created the most comprehensive homeowner data in the industry that benefits from machine learning and data science with our database. 

All of this comes together and helps you skip trace. 

What is skip tracing? Skip tracing is when someone has fled from their home and is effectively in hiding, thus “skipping” town, and a tracer is hired to locate them using nothing but data and their techniques. 

Skip tracing involves understanding data patterns and tracking those patterns over an area to locate someone. Some basic techniques of skip tracing include tracking the acquaintances of a skipper and interviewing them to reveal the location of the missing person. Furthermore, with databases and tools available on the internet, a skip tracer can also make use of directories to find out the contact info and the forwarding address of a person. 

This begs the question: Is skip tracing legal?

Is Skip Tracing Legal?

Yes. It is entirely legal. This, however, does not mean that there are no laws governing skip tracing. It is legal to access databases and public records to find someone on behalf of an agency. Process servers do this all the time. They are required by law to track someone down to serve them. In these cases, a person fleeing the law changes their name, appearance, and address. They also change their phone number. This makes it very hard for a skip tracer to locate them. Still, they have to do it perfectly legally; otherwise, the served notice will be void. 

Similarly, if someone such as a landlord is trying to locate a tenant who has missed many payments on their rent, they must also try to find the individual using legal means.

Are there rules governing skip tracing? Depending on each state, different state laws make it very specific on how to trace someone. Similarly, federal and local laws also sometimes prohibit very aggressive means of tracing. 

What makes skip tracing illegal? If you obtain information without consent or access private data without the knowledge of the data owner, you are breaking the law. In this case, you aren’t allowed to skip trace any further. 

Similarly, you are breaking the law if you use physical force, extortion, and interrogation techniques that you are not allowed to use. In this case, the person being traced may as well get a restraining order against you, which is ironic, to say the very least. 

Similarly, if you forge documents that look like they represent the legal offices of America, you’re committing fraud, which is also illegal. 

However, it must be noted that most professional skip tracers do not break the law in any capacity. They have completely legal and safe ways to track down someone. They stick to specific rules that govern the profession of skip tracing. 

Skip Tracing Rules

You must keep in mind some fundamental rules when skip tracing. 

Data Consent

Data consent is a rule that concerns how the data is acquired. If a skip tracer is acquiring this data through a public or paid-for database, then that’s completely fine. However, they’re breaking the law if they access this data without the data owner’s consent. An instance of this would be accessing the records at a psychologist’s office after hours to find out more about a subject. In this case, the psychologist has cause to sue you for accessing private and confidential files.

Intrusive Means

When finding data, sometimes an amateur skip tracer might think of a devious scheme like breaking into a property to access private records. They might also think to break and enter a property to locate an individual. In both cases, they are breaking the law. You are not allowed to use any intrusive means when skip tracing.

Violence and Threats

If you physically assault someone or make a threat to their wellbeing while interviewing them, you’re effectively a criminal. Why do you think the cops are always trying to “catch” Batman even though Jim Gordon is actively working with the Caped Crusader? It’sIt’s because he bashes in the skulls of Joker’sJoker’s goonies and often threatens their lives. Skip tracing rules dictate that you cannot be hostile to anyone.

Hacking

There is no such thing as ethical hacking when skip tracing. See rules number one and two: you are breaking the law by accessing data without someone’s consent while using intrusive means. A skip tracer is not allowed to hack someone, whatever the cause may be. If they hack or use violence, they turn to the path of vigilantism.

Key Takeaways

Skip tracing comes with its rules and regulations that depend upon each state, locality, and the federal regulations laid down by the government. While there are straightforward ways to skip trace, businesses are not allowed to use physical force, non-ethical means like hacking, or accessing data without consent.

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