Everything You Need To Know About Skip Tracing. Are you about to serve someone with a legal document but don’t know the current address of the person? It can be challenging to find a “skip” – someone who intentionally goes missing or a defaulter of debt. Many people will intentionally relocate their town if they know that they have a pending legal action. Some legal cases cannot proceed until you serve the defendant with the legal document. So, how can you locate the defendant?


What is Skip Tracing?


Skip tracing is a legal action that involves locating someone to serve them with legal documents. It requires researching and using techniques to find a hard-to-find person of interest. Thus, working with a professional skip tracer is highly recommended in locating a skip. 

Some people perform a skip trace search in other to locate a person who cannot be found in their residential place. People who are often in need of skip tracing services are:


  • Private investigators
  • Process Servers
  • Debt collectors
  • Journalists
  • Bail bondsmen
  • Lawyers
  • Firms
  • Family members
  • Plaintiffs

Everything you need to know about skip tracing


Now that we have an idea what skip tracing is all about, it is time to go into the nitty gritty of skip tracing.


What you need a skip tracing for?


You need skip tracing services to locate :

  • Debtors who intentionally migrate from their place
  • Witnesses for the lawsuits
  • People who are accused of frauds
  • Runaway tenants
  • Anyone whose current address is unknown


What are the benefits of skip tracing?


Because a person is hard-to-find doesn’t mean that you cannot locate them. Finding the debtor means that you have a chance to recover the debt. Otherwise, if the debtor relocates after he/she notices of the pending law case against them, you might not get your money back. 

Although locating the person doesn’t mean that you will get back the entire debt, you will at least recover something back. If you do not know the whereabouts of the defendant, then performing a skip trace search is the way to go.

Once you are ready, all you need to do is download the Court Runner APP from Playstore or Applestore and choose “skip trace” option. Fill out the information required and place your order.

Skip tracing comes with various benefits. Skip tracers usually use all legal search strategies and expertise to find the details of a person whose address is unknown. Here are some benefits of skip tracing:


Service of process


One of the benefits of performing a skip trace search is for “Process Serving“. If you are filing a Statement of claim, Simple Divorce,  etc. It is a prerequisite that you must enter the defendant/respondent’s address ― in other for your application to be approved (assuming you are filing in Canada). In other words, If you don’t know the defendants’ or respondents’ address, you can’t serve your legal documents. 




If you want to verify the authenticity of statement i.e. a candidate’s claim of address, then skip tracing becomes necessary. Some people lie about their past, job, residence, etc. especially if they are seeking employment or a political appointment. Carrying out a background check in the way of “Skip Tracing” will verify the person’s previous addresses.

Types of skip trace


There are two types of skip trace search in Canada. They are given as follows:


  1. Basic skip trace i.e. MTO search
  2. Comprehensive skip trace. MTO search + private investigation


How to perform a skip trace


The process server must find the defendant to give him/her the legal documents telling them of the action being taken against them. However, if it becomes challenging to find the person, you can carry out a skip trace search. This will involve collecting all the necessary information about the individual in question. The skip tracer gathers and analyzes data which will be used to perform a skip trace search. 

In other to perform a skip trace search in Canada either through the ministry of transportation or other government institutions , you will need a combination of the following information:


  • Full Name
  • Date of Birth (DOB)
  • Previous or last known address
  • Driver’s License
  • License Plate
  • Work address


After performing a skip trace, the skip tracer can share the defendant’s information only if there is an important reason for doing so. The Steps a skip tracer, process server, or private investigator will take to perform a skip trace varies according to the information available to them.  However, 99% of the time, they will:

  • First familiarize themselves with the subject. They verify the information provided by i.e. plaintiff. This information will help them to collect information about the subject using various resources.

  • Run a search on MTO database or any other government institution

  • Contact the acquaintances such as relatives, neighbors, or co-workers assuming other resources fail to prove essential information. 

  • Performa search on the internet. Nowadays, things are advancing. The skip tracers do not have to perform things manually, like traveling to locate the defendant and spending much time on the internet trying to search for information from the public records. There is adequate information available on the internet, making it easy for the skip tracer to find the defendant within a short time. He can use social media to collect information about his friends and family members.

There are other techniques used to perform a skip trace search. 


Should you hire a skip tracer?


The first thing you do when someone owes you money is to reach out to them. But what step can you take if the customer vanishes and refuses to pick your calls? Hiring a skip tracer will help you locate a debtor who do not return their calls or emails.

Or what if you want to apply for custody or access to see your children who live with their mum, but you don’t know their current location? At that point you need the help of a skip tracer to locate your ex-wife’s address.  Professional skip tracers can locate anyone. They have available tools and resources at their disposal to get quick results.


When do you need to hire a skip tracer?


When you cannot locate the defendant


Even if you have an individual’s email address and have an idea of where he lives, it can be challenging to locate him/her. If he notices that he has a pending case, he is likely to shift to another place. A reliable skip tracer knows where to begin the search. Also, he knows the best approaches to take to locate the person.


When you suspect that the person is living in a specific area


In other for you to successfully serve a legal document on a defendant or respondent , you need to ensure that they receive the documents according to the rules of processing. However, If you can’t locate the defendants’ but suspect that they are living in a specific address, it is necessary to consider a skip trace search. Hire a skip tracer to perform a basic or comprehensive skip trace to ascertain whether or not your suspicions are correct. 


When you want to verify if the defendant is dead or in jail


At times, friends and family members may protect the defendant by claiming that he is dead or is in prison. In this case, a reliable skip tracer should be your option. He will help to find out the truth. 

Skip tracing will help you reduce the hassle of locating the defendant. You can spend a lot of days and money in an attempt to find an individual. But with effective skip tracing investigation, the process can be easy and quick.

I hope this article on “Everything you need to know about skip tracing” has open your eyes to all the different aspects of skip trace? If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to contact us.