There are broadly two types of skip tracing that are most commonly used by skip tracers in the USA and in the UK: Automated Skip Tracing and Desktop Skip Tracing.
Automated skip tracing services rely solely on information generated by databases where as a Desk Top tracing agent uses not only database information but also conducts an in depth and extensive investigation on each individual case.
Automated skip tracing has become the most popular option particularly for debt collection companies over the last few years, the speed of the service and the initial low cost being the main attraction – however – the success rate achieved by using this method is disappointingly low in comparison to a desk top trace. On average, an automated skip trace yields a 30% to 40% success rate compared to the70% to 80% success rate performance achieved by an experienced and reputable skip tracing agent when conducting an in depth search using the desk top method.
It is also important to note that reports generated by an automated skip trace are not always reliable as the information cannot be confirmed or verified by the system and therefore without a further in depth check, it is not possible to guarantee that the right person has actually been located which somewhat negates any savings on cost and time frame.
The advantage of choosing a desk top skip tracing agent to locate a debtor or missing person is that an in depth enquiry will identify any errors on the information provided such as an incorrectly spelled name, address, or zip code and adjust the search accordingly, where as an automated skip trace is unable to identify errors and will produce a negative report without any further investigation.
A skip tracing agent conducting an in depth search will be able to confirm any information that is generated by the search result relating to new addresses, contact numbers for a home or cell phone, or next of kin by cross referencing and checking the information gathered on selected databases which guarantees the client a more reliable and accurate report.
Although both methods are capable of skip tracing a debtor or missing person, choosing a skip tracing agency that operates using the desk top search system as opposed to an automated service is likely to be the most cost effective and successful.